Nancy Northup

President and CEO, Center for Reproductive Rights

Nancy Northup is President of the Center for Reproductive Rights, the world’s only global legal advocacy organization dedicated to advancing women’s reproductive health, self-determination, and dignity as basic human rights.  Under Ms. Northup’s leadership, the Center has significantly expanded its international litigation docket—including the first abortion case decided by the U.N. Human Rights Committee and the first case to frame preventable maternal deaths as a human rights violation. The Center has built the legal capacity of women's rights advocates and strengthened reproductive health laws and policies in AsiaAfricaEurope, and Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as the United States, by bringing groundbreaking cases before national courts, U.N. committees, and regional human rights bodies in more than 50 countries.  Ms. Northup also led the Center to establish the Law School Initiative to promote legal scholarship and teaching on reproductive health as human rights, an emerging body of transnational law.

With headquarters in New York City and regional offices in Washington, DC; Bogota, Colombia; Geneva, Switzerland; Kathmandu, Nepal; and Nairobi, Kenya; the Center partners with local lawyers and advocates to ensure that its strategies are sensitive to--and effective in--each unique cultural, economic, and political context.   

Before joining the Center in 2003, Ms. Northup was the founding director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law. From 1989-96, she prosecuted federal crimes and served as Deputy Chief of Appeals in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York. From 1988-89, she served as a law clerk on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. She has a J.D. from Columbia University School of Law and a B.A. from Brown University. She holds adjunct appointments at NYU and Columbia law schools, where she has taught courses in constitutional and human rights law. A frequent public speaker, Ms. Northup is quoted widely in the U.S. and international press and has appeared on CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, PBS, MSNBC and NPR.