Jon O’Brien and Silvia Henriquez
Catholics for Choice, NLIRH
Jon O’Brien, president of
Catholics for Choice (CFC), heads the leading prochoice organization
that addresses sexual and reproductive rights from a standpoint of culture,
faith, and morality. Through his leadership, O’Brien is committed
to maintaining a visionary approach to reproductive health policy, focused
on shaping and advancing the way people, especially opinion leaders
and policy makers, think and feel about reproductive rights. With more
than twenty years experience in the field, Mr. O’Brien is a leader
in developing global strategy surrounding reproductive health and rights
issues. He has worked on five continents with local advocates and activists
on policy development, advocacy, and communications. Highly sought after
for his expertise, O’Brien has increased communications and advocacy
efficacy by working with partners around the world–including family
planning associations, medical practitioners, prochoice advocates, nonprofit
leaders and policy makers–to develop new ways to approach and discuss
the abortion debate.
A life-long Catholic born and
raised in the Republic of Ireland, Mr. O’Brien’s initial involvement
in reproductive rights was sparked by his reaction to the great injustices
that women especially face as a result of the Catholic hierarchy’s
influence over public policy in the country. He began his professional
career with the Irish Family Planning Association, where he worked on
the front lines of reproductive health provision and was instrumental
in developing the strategy that successfully engineered the downfall
of Ireland’s restrictive contraceptive laws. Before joining CFC over
ten years ago, O’Brien also worked as program manager at the International
Planned Parenthood Federation’s European Bureau in London, overseeing
the federation’s work establishing family planning clinics in Eastern
Europe during a time of immense political and social turmoil.
O’Brien has been honored by the International Parliamentarians Conference
on ICPD, recognized as a “Key to Choice” by Planned Parenthood Golden
Gate, and received the Abby J. Leibman Pursuit of Justice Lifetime Achievement
Award from the California Women’s Law Center in 2007.
Silvia Henriquez is the Executive Director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health.
Henriquez is primarily responsible for the overall management,
fundraising and administration of the National Latina Institute for
Reproductive Health. In just three years, Silvia has positioned NLIRH
as one the leading organizations working to advance the reproductive
health and rights of Latinas. She has increased national visibility
through the March for Women’s Lives, the National Latina Summit,
developed national organizing and advocacy programs as well as tripled
the funding base for the organization. Prior to her leadership position
at NLIRH, Silvia has worked with various reproductive rights
organizations. She was the National Campus Coordinator at the Feminist
Majority Foundation, the Outreach Director at the National Abortion
Federation and a Policy Analyst with the Latino Issues Forum.
currently sits on the Board of Directors of both the Reproductive
Health Technologies Project and the Guttmacher Institute. She has also
been recognized by the National Women’s Health Network at their 30th
Anniversary as one of 30 activists working on behalf of women’s health.
Silvia is also the recipient of the 2005 Young Professional Award from
the American Public Health Association. She graduated with a Bachelor’s
in International Affairs and a Master’s in Women’s Studies both from
the George Washington University.