45th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade – Part 5
Women Need More Choices
While in law school, I interned at the California Institute for Biomedical Research (Calibr). I was hired by Sabrina Martucci Johnson, who was the organization’s CFO/CAO at the time. Ms. Johnson is an advocate for women, and any time we have spoken about reproductive rights, it has been obvious to me that she cares deeply about women’s access to reproductive health care.
Ms. Johnson is the founder and CEO of Daré Bioscience, a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company committed to the development and commercialization of innovative products in women’s reproductive health. Daré’s first clinical candidate is a nonhormonal contraceptive ring called Ovaprene®. By helping to develop a nonhormonal birth control ring, and thus expanding the options women have in that realm of health care, Ms. Johnson is advocating for women’s reproductive rights in a time when women’s health care is being challenged.
As part of a Lawyers Club blog series in celebration of the 45th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade, here’s a summary of my interview with Ms. Johnson:
What is your role in the reproductive rights and services field?
SMJ: We founded Daré Bioscience to ensure that innovative products for reproductive health make it to market so that women have numerous choices when it comes to maintaining their reproductive health (whether it is contraception, vaginal health, menopause, fertility or sexual health). Expanding product choices helps enhance access and reduces stigma. I am also on the board of Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest.
What does the term "reproductive justice" mean to you?
SMJ: It means having access to the right products and services to address your specific reproductive needs and circumstances, no matter where you live, what your socioeconomic status is, your race, or your health.
How do you think reproductive rights and services have changed since Roe v. Wade or since you began your work?
SMJ: It has changed to expand beyond abortion to broader access to reproductive care, and beyond limited legal arguments to include the social and health factors that impact women's reproductive choices and decision-making ability.
What would you say is the number one need or reproductive service for those who have limited or no access to services in San Diego?
SMJ: More needs to be done on behalf of women and their families to deliver new and improved forms of contraception, fertility treatments and products for vaginal health. Bottom line: Women need more choices – including non-hormonal contraception – so that wherever they are in their reproductive lifecycle they have viable options.
We also need to continue to work hard to ensure that people have access to the information, services, and products they need. There are organizations that can provide appropriate, unbiased, and inclusive care, and we should make sure there is general awareness of these services.
For an interesting look at women’s health and the biotech industry, please read this STAT News article, co-authored by Ms. Johnson and Jessica Grossman, CEO of Medicines360. In the article, Ms. Johnson and Ms. Grossman articulate the barriers that women face regarding access to health options.
Courtney L. Wine wrote this for the Lawyers Club Reproductive Justice Committee and is contracts counsel at the California Institute for Biomedical Research.