It is with great sadness that we announce that Jeannie I. Rosoff, one of the Guttmacher Institute’s founders and its second President and CEO, has died. Jeannie established our Washington, DC office in 1968, going on to lead it for a decade before serving as the Institute’s president from 1978 to 1999. She is survived by her daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren.
Jeannie’s contributions to the Institute and to the field of sexual and reproductive health and rights are nothing short of momentous. She was a driving force behind the creation of the Title X program, a role recognized at the time of her retirement in 1999 by U.S. Representative Henry Waxman, former chairman of the subcommittee with jurisdiction over public health programs, who submitted this recognition of Jeannie’s work in the Congressional Record:
Under Jeannie’s leadership, the Institute became a key source of research and analysis on the impact of legal and policy restrictions on access to abortion services, particularly as they affected young, poor and disadvantaged women. Guttmacher’s mission also grew to include work on maternal health and on the financing and impact of family planning services in the United States. Jeannie led the expansion of Guttmacher’s global presence, increasing our international work, which often focused on sensitive areas such as safe abortion care and adolescent sexual and reproductive health. She served with distinction as a private-sector member of the U.S. delegation to the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo. When Jeannie retired, Donna Shalala, Secretary of Health and Human Services during the Clinton administration, acknowledged her work in Cairo, saying, “How fitting it was that you were called upon to play an important role in representing the United States and shaping the worldwide consensus that emerged at that landmark conference, since at its core was an approach to the issues that has been intrinsic to your approach, and that of AGI, in the development of domestic policy.”
A true visionary and brilliant strategist, Jeannie was one of the first in our field to recognize the power of gathering and using evidence to effect policy change. In her wonderful oral history, part of the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College, Jeannie recounts much of the story of her career, which is intertwined with key developments in the sexual and reproductive health and rights movement, and provides a detailed and colorful picture of the social, political and policy environments in which she operated.
Upon her retirement in 1999, President Bill Clinton sent his congratulations in a letter that reads in part, “Through three decades of challenge and change, you have been a steadfast champion of reproductive rights, particularly for the young and disadvantaged. You can be proud to know that your efforts have improved the lives and health of women and their families across America and around the world.”
Jeannie contributed greatly to making ours a better world. She will be missed by the many people she touched during her long and full life and by the larger community she so richly served.
In accordance with Jeannie’s wishes, no memorial service will be held. Her family has indicated that memorial donations may be made to the Guttmacher Institute or Planned Parenthood Federation of America.