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Shireen Shakouri

Shireen Shakouri - 2019 Nominee
Position: Senior Campaign Lead & Media Coordinator
Organization: Reproaction and The Doula Project
Current Location: United States, North America
Bachelor from The George Washington University
Additional Degrees and Certifications:
Abortion Doula certification through The Doula Project
Shireen is a campaign lead at Reproaction and a communications associate for The Doula Project. She's also a published writer who has published articles on a range of issues intersecting reproductive health and justice. – Erika Christensen, Founder at Abort Mission Org
Describe your contributions to and achievements in family planning.

I manage all media and press – including all social media accounts – for The Doula Project, where I crafted the organization’s social media “voice” and have expanded the reach of our mission and thought leadership internationally. As a result of The Doula Project’s exponential growth online (which has doubled across all platforms in my 7 months’ service), two new abortion doula collectives have formed, and we are widely viewed as a go-to resource for press inquiries about full-spectrum doula care. We have been featured in a variety of USA-based and international press outlets since my tenure as Media Coordinator began.

What sparked your passion for family planning?

I became interested in this work after witnessing sub-par sex education in my public school. Despite growing up in a state viewed as “liberal” there are significant lapses in the sexual and reproductive health curricula across the United States and in my home state of New York. Only in college did I learn that it could have been way worse: many states mandate that “sexual risk avoidance” or “abstinence-only” education is the only type that can be taught in public schools. From there, I joined my college’s pro-choice group and held leadership positions within the organization for two years. We participated in events across D.C. supporting the passage of the Affordable Care Act and inclusion of birth control in the ACA as a necessary part of healthcare.

Give one or two examples of how you display leadership in your family planning work.:

I serve as the Senior Campaign Lead at my main organization of employment, Reproaction Education Fund, where I supervise a paid fellow and serve as an editor for the written products of two full-time staff. There, I spurred Reproaction’s leadership in the fight against anti-abortion fake clinics – or crisis pregnancy centers – which are organizations that operate internationally to mislead people seeking abortion information and often use shaming tactics that foster stigma about sexuality and reproductive healthcare. The Fake Clinic Database is our most intensive contribution to this education campaign, where USA-based fake clinics are listed by state and location so people know where they shouldn’t go for comprehensive reproductive healthcare.

If you are named a winner of 120 under 40, how will you use this new platform and the $1000 grant to advance your work? :

I would like to plan a small-medium convening of abortion and full-spectrum doulas from around North America to build community, skill-share, and discuss sustainable practices for our direct service work, which is often severely under-funded and volunteer-run. Birth doulas are becoming a recognized standard of care for labor and delivery with a quantifiable impact on healthy outcomes for birthing people and their pregnancies, but there is still little knowledge about doula care beyond birth and into abortion and pregnancy loss, stillbirth, and post-partum. There are at least 32 abortion and full-spectrum doula collectives across North America, and we’d all benefit from a shared space to build power and foster community.

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