Kinsey Hasstedt first observed the intersection between reproductive health issues and politics during seventh grade, when she prepared a presentation on Margaret Sanger’s importance to U.S. history: “I remember my teacher not knowing whether to allow me to present or not, he was so thrown that I would discuss something like birth control in front of my class.”
As a volunteer at a domestic violence center and a political affairs and outreach director for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, Hasstedt continues to observe both the coexistence and the collision of politics and women’s reproductive health.
Sometimes, it discourages her. But always, it inspires her.
“Seeing the common challenges among clients of domestic violence shelters and Planned Parenthood health centers has instilled in me a passion for transforming the systemic factors that oppress these women and, by extension, their families and communities,” she says.
“In an age when many women can pursue the relationships, family structures, education and careers they choose, the global community of women remains devastatingly oppressed,” Hasstedt explains. “Precluded from education and economic independence, sold into slavery, murdered or scarred because they weren’t born male, and shown no other way to survive than as have generations before them, women everywhere are suffering.”
She plans to focus on women’s health care, particularly reproductive health services and reducing maternal mortality rates.
“I want to help build systems that will actually make contraceptives available to the 215 million women who still want them, but can’t get them,” Hasstedt says. “I want to assist in implementing programs that will, indeed, reduce global maternal mortality rates by at least 75 percent,” as laid out by the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development.
Public Policy Associate, Guttmacher Institute