Morgan Garcia

Morgan Garcia - 2016 Nominee
Position: Clinical Research Manager
Organization: FHI 360
Most recently working in Papua New Guinea, Morgan’s determination and innovative talent is helping to break barriers in maternal, child, and sexual and reproductive health within local communities. – Carrie Rubury, Special Assistant to the CEO at Global Health Corps
Describe your contributions to and achievements in family planning.

Morgan promotes the acceptance and use of contraception by working with communities to encourage the valuing of women's and youth rights. She believes that fundamental change can only occur when communities commit to ensuring the full participation and humanity of women, youth, and disadvantaged individuals. Morgan's work includes projects to reduce abortion stigma, promote family planning for youth, end gender-based violence, and involve communities in supporting the rights of women and girls. She is motivated to reach the world's most remote communities to support the realization of sexual and reproductive health as a human right, and has so far worked in diverse locations such as the US, Uganda, and Papua New Guinea.

What sparked your passion for family planning?

As a young woman, I was fortunate to have access to confidential, quality contraceptive services. Growing up, I witnessed many young women who did not have this privilege - from friends who gave birth or had abortions at an early age to women I supported as a sexual assault responder. I believe that reproductive choice, freedom from violence, and economic and political participation are deeply linked and I work to enhance human rights by supporting sexual and reproductive health and freedom.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your family planning efforts, and what have you done to overcome it?

The biggest challenge is fundamental beliefs about the role of women and youth. When power holders believe that young people are not sexually active, or that women's purpose is to bear children, communities don't accept family planning. I work with teams to guide communities in discussions that replace myths with facts - from youth performances in Uganda to community workshops in Papua New Guinea. As communities gain a safe space to examine their attitudes and beliefs, acceptance improves.

What is your (country/region/city)’s biggest challenge in family planning, and how can it be addressed?

The United States has made many improvements in the acceptance of contraception for unmarried women, and for access to safe abortion, over the years. This is in many ways a result of the increased value placed on women as human beings and our growing presence in the workplace. However, recent battles over abortion access and insurance coverage of contraception represent a step back. Activists in the US must continue to publicly link women's bodily autonomy and human rights.

What do you want to accomplish in the next 5 years?

I want to work with activists in communities all over the world to develop new ways to engage people in questioning negative gender norms and stereotypes, and support communities to come up with new and positive ways to ensure that women and youth get the sexual, reproductive, and maternal health care that they need.

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