Eesha Pandit

Eesha Pandit is a writer and activist who believes in social justice movements, the power of intersectionality, feminism, sisterhood and the power of art. Her writing can be found at The Crunk Feminist Collective, Feministing, The Nation, Salon, Rewire, Feministe and In These Times. She’s also a longtime human rights activist and most recently served as Executive Director of Men Stopping Violence. She’s also worked with Breakthrough, Raising Women’s Voices, the Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program, Carr Center for Human Rights at Harvard and Amnesty International Women’s Human Rights Program. She serves on the board of the National Network of Abortion Funds.


All Work

Raising Our Voices for the Health Care We Need

Eesha Pandit

Post your own story here! As important for health care advocacy as policy analysis are the stories of real women and their families. Raising Women's Voices and Rewire offer you this space to tell us about your experiences of health care.

Health Care – Right or Responsibility?

Eesha Pandit

In Tuesday's presidential debate, John McCain said health care is a matter of personal responsibility, while Barack Obama said it was a right. What does that mean for patients and health consumers?

Stem-ing the Debate

Eesha Pandit

With new techniques for controversy-free stem cells in reach, there are several critical issues to keep in mind as stem cell research becomes commonplace.

Polluted Pregnancy

Eesha Pandit

Claim to care about "unborn" children, then actively promote the industries that pollute the environment with toxins that cause serious developmental diseases - it's textbook hypocrisy.

Linking Abortion to Crime Reduction in Rio

Eesha Pandit

Legalizing abortion might decrease crime, Sergio Cabral, the governor of Rio de Janiero, stated last week. His claim rests on a contested link between the reasons a woman seeks an abortion and the factors that facilitate criminal behavior.

Vote, Run, Win

Eesha Pandit

When women run for office, they win at the same rate as men. So projects like She Should Run focus on getting more women nominated and running.

SCHIP: Just the Beginning

Eesha Pandit

Last week, President Bush vetoed a proposal that would extend the State Children's Health Insurance Program, demonstrating the administration's cavalier attitude toward the many families who earn above poverty levels but are still unable to cover their children.

Woman vs. Fetus Myth

Eesha Pandit

It's time to set the record straight about some of the myths spread by conservative activists who masquerade their contempt for women as concern for fetal rights.

The Way We (Never) Were

Eesha Pandit

Samuel Berger writes in The Nation about the evolving phenomena of "choice" politics—focusing on the newly emerging pitfalls in the matter of reproductive technologies.

Rape and War: Important Changes at the ICC

Eesha Pandit

The International Criminal Court's newest investigation is its first case in which the number of mass rapes outnumbers the number of mass killings, supporting the argument that war is a women's rights issue.

Unconcerned About Women’s Health

Eesha Pandit

A common tactic used by opponents of reproductive justice is to feign interest in women's health and well-being. An example of anti-woman dogma dressed in health rhetoric is Concerned Women for America.

Biologically Determined: Indian Women Required to Reveal Details of Their Menstrual Cycles

Eesha Pandit

After significant outrage by women civil servants in India, the Indian government says it will review new appraisal forms requiring female civil servants to offer information about their menstrual cycles.

Last week, the BBC reported that the health ministry of the Indian Government sought information about the details of female employees' menstrual cycles and when they last sought maternity leave. The offending questions are after the jump.

Young People Make Strife: Problems with the Youth Bulge Theory

Eesha Pandit

An article in last week's New York Times discusses a study recently published by Population Action International (PAI) which suggests that,

... it is no simple coincidence that 80 percent of the civil conflicts that broke out in the 1970s, '80s and '90s occurred in countries where at least 60 percent of the population was under 30, and that almost 9 of 10 such youthful countries had autocratic rulers or weak democracies.

The PAI study finds one thing that is consistent among strife-ridden nations like Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan and Congo is that they all have very young populations.

William L. Nash, a retired Army major general who directs the Center for Preventive Action of the Council on Foreign Relations, says: "You've got a lot of young men. You've got a lot of poverty. You've got a lot of bad governance, and often you've got greed with extractive industries. You put all that together, and you've got the makings of trouble."

Dispatches from the Revolution: Part 3

Eesha Pandit

In the third and final installment of my coverage of From Abortion Rights to Social Justice: Building a Movement for Reproductive Freedom, a conference hosted by the Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program (CLPP), I had the opportunity to sit down with Shana Griffin. Shana works with INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence and is the Interim Director of the Women's Health and Justice Initiative in New Orleans.

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Dispatches from the Revolution

Eesha Pandit

This week, I break from regularly scheduled blogging to bring you some first-hand coverage from Massachusetts.

This weekend I left the bustle of Chicago to retreat into the lovely lair of western Mass. for the From Abortion Rights to Social Justice: Building a Movement for Reproductive Freedom, a conference hosted by the Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program. I've just retuned from the conference having been challenged, energized, inspired and exhausted in the best ways possible.

Over 1000 activists came together to forge a path towards reproductive freedom by learning, strategizing and networking for reproductive rights and social justice. There were more than 60 speakers from organizations and communities all over the U.S. and around the world. The speakers addressed a broad range of social justice issues by relating them to reproductive rights and health. They spoke about issues of economic justice, immigrants rights, health care, racial justice, anti-war activism, youth liberation, LGBTQ rights, civil liberties and freedom from violence.

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Fitting Into Your Genes: Abortion, Disability and the Politics of Genetic Testing

Eesha Pandit

Not so many years ago, genetic testing and selection seemed like a thing of the future. Gattaca-like scenarios seemed far off. Now, however, those scenarios are more imminent and as reproductive rights activists we've got to sort through the science and politics of it all. Since my post about sex-selection in India, I've been thinking quite a bit about the convolutions of this debate and how to configure a political stance on these issues that incorporates all the things I value. There are debates raging in the blogosphere, in the activist communities and in the world at large about genetic testing and reproductive rights. The New York Times is running a series of articles called "The DNA Age: Choosing to Know" (see sidebar for all articles). The questions are moral and political and because these phenomena happen on the site of women's bodies, the answers are crucial to a vision of reproductive justice. I can't say that I have any clear answers to these but I thought I'd take this opportunity to lay out the debate and offer some thoughts on it.

Women and War: Japanese Women Still Waiting for Justice

Eesha Pandit

Last week, as we heard about American women in war, another story about women and war surfaced. An article in the NY Times reported that the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is refusing to acknowledge that Japanese (and other) women were forced into sex-slavery by the military during World War II.

This weekend, after a great stirring of emotions and controversy, the government of Japan reiterated its stance. The women who lived through it, however, are refusing to accept this distortion of history.

Sex and Selection: Nuances in Creating a Global Reproductive Justice Movement

Eesha Pandit

In the past week there have been two sets of startling stories about India and reproductive rights in the news.

The first story is based on a government survey finding that 40% of Indian women have not heard of AIDS. India has 5.7 million people living with HIV/AIDS per UN figures. The National Family Health Survey (NFHS), the most extensive study on health and nutrition in India, said in its latest report only 57 percent of women have heard of AIDS. In rural areas, where most Indians live, a mere 46% of women were aware of the disease.

The second story reports that GE ultrasound machines in India are being used for sex selection. Under Indian law, doctors who operate ultrasound machines can only use them in the case of an abnormal pregnancy and must fill out forms showing the reason for each procedure. However the only machines that the government can monitor are the 25,770 machines that are registered. The London Daily Main places estimates of the actual number of machines in use at anywhere from 70,000 to 100,000, according to the British Medical Journal. The portable ones that make it to rural areas, if unregistered and unregulated can allow any woman to determine the sex of her child. The fetus can then be terminated at a government hospital, where abortions, like other procedures, are free for those who cannot pay.

The Tale of the Not-Quite All American Baby: Immigration and Reproductive Rights

Eesha Pandit

Let's kick off 2007 with a little immigration mania, shall we?

Yuki Lin, born on the stroke of midnight this New Year's, became the winner of a random drawing for a national Toys "R" Us sweepstakes. The company had promised a $25,000 U.S. savings bond to the "first American baby born in 2007." However, Yuki lost her prize after the company learned that her mother was an undocumented U.S. resident. Instead, the bond went to a baby in Gainesville, Georgia, described by her mother as "an American all the way."

The question is unambiguously answered by the 14th Amendment, which asserts that a child born on U.S. soil is an American citizen, having equal standing with all other American citizens. Nevertheless, this incident brings to light some pretty deep-seated beliefs about who is legitimately American and who, clearly, is not.

Objectionable Objectors: Is YOUR Doctor Telling You Everything You Need to Know?

Eesha Pandit

An alarming number of physicians do not feel obligated to tell their patients about certain medical procedures they morally oppose. Often falling into this category are teen birth control and abortion. A recently published study in the New England Journal of Medicine, led by Dr. Farr Curlin, a bioethicist at the University of Chicago has brought forth new information. The researchers surveyed 1,144 doctors from all around the US and found some truly disturbing facts about medical care in this country. Many doctors who morally oppose certain treatments do not feel obligated to refer people elsewhere for care they do not wish to provide.

Science In the Classroom? Stop the Presses!

Eesha Pandit

In Iowa, Oregon and Milwaukee the sex-education tide's-a-turning. Each of these places is on the path to offering sex education in their schools that is based on truthful information about sex. Well, the statistics don't lie and it's about time that we started paying attention to the grand failure that is abstinence-only sex ed.

Baby Border Patrol

Eesha Pandit

Each year many pregnant Chinese women try and cross the border into Hong Kong in order to give birth. Apparently, in the past few years tens of thousands of women have crossed the border from mainland China into Hong Kong to deliver their children. Last year this number reached approximately 12,000. By making the trek into Hong Kong, women from mainland China are able to circumvent the country's one-child policy, and gain automatic residency rights (that come with health and education benefits) for their child in Hong Kong. The numbers of births by Chinese women from the mainland now account for almost a third of Hong Kong births, and are placing a burden on local hospital wards.

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