The International Council on Infertility Information Dissemination, Inc

Saying Goodby to an Icon: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Headshot photo of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
A photo of NPR's Nina Totenberg interviewing Ruth Bader Ginsburg about the movie "On the Basis of Sex"

Protecting Reproductive Rights: “Women’s rights are human rights.”

“The right to family planning is inherent in the right of human dignity.” This quote is announced, articulated, and pronounced in the UN Charter and further reiterated in all international and regional human rights agreements. 

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

This week we mourn the passing of one of the most iconic figures dedicated to equal rights. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, though tiny in stature was a giant among those who paved the way and laid the foundation for equality and not just for women.

Family planning is not only a matter of human rights; it is also central to women’s emancipation, decreasing poverty, and achieving forward movement and development.

Early in her career, arguing before the very court on which she would eventually sit, she told the justices that she asked for no favor for her sex – only that men “take their feet off our necks,” quoting abolitionist Sarah Grimké.

The “notorious RBG” as she was affectionately known to many, is often recognized as a champion for women but she saw that gender equality was beneficial not just for women but for everyone; men, women and, families.

So much of who Justice Ginsburg was is encompassed by her creation of foundational principles matching cultural movements to the law – laws that often were not adequate for our times.  Our reproductive rights and laws need to continue to be updated as do our institutions so we can match today's conversations, needs, and family-planning to the laws that protect privacy and personal choice.


Most people think of the Roe V. Wade case as a choice to terminate an unplanned pregnancy, but that decision comprises many more complicated and complex ramifications for family-planning then just “a woman’s right to choose”.

Family-planning in its least demanding form is an extremely personal decision. It’s about when to get pregnant and how many children one might plan for, whether you have the resources to support the child and care for it.  Planning a family for some is also about the “how” we conceive. Having a child involves intimacy. Whether that be with a partner or singly, and it’s a private and personal decision dependent on many factors known often only to the parties involved.

Over almost two decades, I‘ve had the pleasure of coaching and supporting, family-building with those who struggle through reproductive treatment and failure; the sorrow-filled experiences of multiple losses, of stillbirth, genetic challenges, and more. This is personal to me, having survived 7 years of infertility and 4 pregnancy losses myself.

A Little IVF History

In July of 1978, Louise Brown was born in Oldham, England. This event was the beginning of IVF (in vitro fertilization) where doctors extract eggs from the ovaries and mix them with sperm in a petri dish or tube to create an embryo. Once the embryo begins to grow, doctors transfer it to the uterus.

Reproductive research pioneers Robert Edwards and Patrick Steptoe were initially criticized but today IVF is the most important method for the treatment of infertility. In 2010 the Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded to Robert Edwards for the development of in vitro fertilization. In 2018, more than 80,000 babies were born from IVF procedures in the United States alone and more than a million around the world.

The Present Condition of Reproductive Equality

A large void in the fight for human rights now exists in the passing of Justice Ginsburg. As far as reproductive rights go, more than 60% of polled Americans support choice. It would be unconscionable and totally unacceptable to make an appointment to the court that could shift it away from choice when voting has already started in many states and the majority of the population supports privacy and choice.

A photo of NPR's Nina Totenberg interviewing Ruth Bader Ginsburg about the movie "On the Basis of Sex"What’s at Stake?

The Supreme Court hears and decides cases that have broad and sweeping legal, political, and social significance. The opinions issued by the Court will have a substantive impact on society, but more importantly on every one of us - personally.

The right to choose IVF to plan your family in on the ballot alongside healthcare including pre-existing conditions. A shift in the court here could leave millions of people without healthcare during a pandemic.



If there was ever any hope of getting IVF covered by insurance, this could make all the efforts of many reproductive rights organization null and void.

Whether survivors of sexual violence can get the services they need is on the ballot.

Equality is on the ballot. So much is at stake.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a struggled  as a young attorney and new mother. She faced many obstacles and laid ground-breaking legal precedence in her fight for equal rights changing the way the courts view gender discrimination.

Movie Trailer for: On the Basis of Sex




Photos used under the following Creative Commons license

"Nina Totenberg (NPR) interviews Ruth Bader GinsburgThe Wide Wide World is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

" The Portrait photo: A Beautiful Ruth Bader Ginsburg" by John Mathew Smith & is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Why Refusing to Wear a Mask Is Not ADA Protected

A close up photo of a woman wearing a face mask and surgical hair covering
We’re all living through COVID-19 and some of us are more vulnerable than others. I’m hearing more and more accounts of individuals claiming their “access rights” under the ADA are being violated because they refuse to put on a mask.

So to set the record straight and as a person who has a child with multiple disabilities, I am going to explain the 99.9% of those who won’t wear a mask are not entitled to accuse businesses of violating the “ADA”.

If a person with a disability is not able to wear a face mask because of their disability, businesses can consider REASONABLE modifications to the face mask policy (so they continue to protect others) but also accommodate the person with the disability. The accommodations enable a person to participate in, or benefit from, the programs offered or goods and services that are provided while not jeopardizing others in the midst of a public health crisis.

A REASONABLE modification means changing the business policies, practices, and /or procedures, IF NEEDED, to provide goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations to an individual with a disability.

The requirement to modify a policy, practice, or procedure does NOT include individuals WITHOUT disabilities, as those without a disability are NOT protected under the ADA. So, when the self-entitled "Karens" OR "Kens" of the world enter a place of business and tell you it is their right not to wear a mask under the ADA, ask this allowed question, “Do you have a disability that prevents you from wearing a mask.”
If they say yes, tell them you are happy to modify your policy to accommodate their shopping. However, there are a multitude of ways to accommodate them (under the ADA) that does not include allowing them to wander throughout the store or business without a face-covering.

Reasonable modifications to the policy of wearing a face mask:

  • Allowing a person to wear a scarf, or loose face covering, or FULL-FACE SHIELD instead of a face mask; (If you identify as a person with a disability who cannot wear a face-mask, buy yourself a full-face shield;

  • Allow customers to order online with curbside pick-up or no contact delivery;

  • Allow customers to order by phone with curbside pick-up or no contact delivery in a timely manner;

  • Shop for the customer;

  • Allow a person to wait in their car for an appointment and enter the building when called or texted;

  • Offer appointments by telephone or video calls.

I would bet that most of the anti-wearing face-maskers do not identify as a person with a disability in their place of employment.

The excuse (being a person living with a disability) is a slap in the face toward people who DO live daily with a disability. False claims of disability hurt those with a disability.

The science is clear. Studies show us that viral load peaks in the days before symptoms begin and that speaking is enough to expel virus-carrying droplets. Wearing a mask shows respect for others but also for yourself.

In Summary

What most of these entitled people don't get even if they do have a disability is that their "disability rights" do not outweigh the rights of others; others who may have a compromised immune system or be involved in cancer treatment or live with a vulnerable adult or child. I would urge everyone to think long and hard about personal motivation, acts of kindness to others, and self-respect.