Who We Are

We are an advocacy organization that fights for just and equitable access to reproductive health care in states and cities nationwide.  

For more than 40 years, NIRH has been partnering with communities to build coalitions, launch campaigns, and successfully advocate for policy change. NIRH’s strategy is to go on the offensive and focus on communities where change is needed and where we can make a difference.

We work hand-in-hand with state and local reproductive health, rights, and justice organizations and other groups that are invested in this fight to pass laws that expand access to abortion and contraception and advance health equity. Our approach to advocacy, policy, and politics strives to center the people who are most impacted by barriers to care, historically underserved, and often under-represented — Black women and Black communities, Indigenous and other communities of color, low-income people, and immigrants. .

Our political arm, the NIRH Action Fund, works in parallel to change state and local electoral and policy landscapes.

We don’t just push back against restrictions on reproductive autonomy; we fight for a society in which everyone has the freedom and ability to control their reproductive and sexual lives.

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Our History


NIRH’s predecessor organization, the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws (NARAL) is founded in New York as a 501(c)4 organization. This becomes NARAL New York, and later, NIRH and the NIRH Action Fund.


We expanded our mission from advancing access to abortion to promoting the full range of reproductive health and rights in cities and states across the country.


We worked with New York State legislatures to make abortion legal in New York — one of the first abortion legalization laws in the country.


Roe v. Wade legalizes abortion in every state in the country.


NARAL New York creates the NARAL New York Foundation, which will later be named the National Institute for Reproductive Health (NIRH).


We join 100,000 activists in the March for Women’s Lives in Washington, DC.


We start the Teen Outreach Reproductive Outreach CHallenge (TORCH), a youth empowerment and training initiative in New York City. Over the next 30 years, TORCH would train hundreds of New York City young people, and touch the lives of thousands more.


We worked with New York City Council to pass a Clinic Access law, the strongest in the country, which proves to be a model for other cities across the country


Amid a shortage of abortion providers, we began the Residency Training Initiative to train doctors in abortion procedures. This pilot program led to NYC adopting the model in its public hospitals, which is credited with training hundreds of providers in abortion procedures.


After former President George W. Bush signed anti-abortion legislation into law, we led a march over the Brooklyn Bridge to protest the Republican National Convention, drawing a crowd of 30,000 people.


NIRH launched the Urban Initiative for Reproductive Health, a first-of-its-kind initiative to improve reproductive rights and health at the local level. The Urban Initiative brought policy experts, elected officials, and stakeholders from cities across the country together to collaborate on improving reproductive health outcomes in cities nationwide.


NIRH works with the New York City Mayor and City Council to pass legislation requiring truth in advertising for anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers.


We launch a new program to increase access to long-acting reversible contraception (like IUDs), eventually making positive policy changes in ten states across the country


We launch the Local Reproductive Freedom Index, showcasing the reproductive health, rights, and justice policies of 40 cities across the United States, continuing the momentum of the Urban Initiative and inspiring local policy action in Atlanta, Austin, New York City, St. Louis and more.


We led the #FundAbortionNYC campaign, creating first-of-its-kind municipal funding for abortion care in NYC. This funding has been renewed in NYC every year since. And this win is quickly followed by funding for abortion in Austin, Portland OR, and more cities across the country.


We led the fight to pass the Reproductive Health Act in New York, followed by unprecedented proactive laws solidifying abortion rights in states across the country.


In a disastrous opinion for bodily autonomy, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, which will decimate abortion access in half the country. NIRH worked to secure abortion rights and access in states across the country, securing major investments in reproductive health care infrastructure in New Jersey, New York, Oregon, and more.

It all began in New York in 1968, when we launched as a grassroots political, 501(c)4 organization with the mission of legalizing abortion in New York State. We were successful in making New York one of the very first states to do so in 1970, three years before Roe v. Wade was decided.

Since our founding, the National Institute for Reproductive Health and the NIRH Action Fund have worked to expand access to reproductive health care, including abortion care, in communities across the country. Over the years, we’ve grown and evolved, but we’ve stayed true to our core mission of fighting for reproductive freedom, passing proactive policies, and advancing a positive vision of reproductive freedom.

In 1980, out of that grassroots, state-based effort grew the origins of what is now a national organization, the National Institute for Reproductive Health and the NIRH Action Fund, dedicated to passing proactive legislation to safeguard access to reproductive health care in states and cities across the country. Since then, we’ve expanded our fight to new states and cities, helping others across the country push forward to protect and advance reproductive freedom.

Today, NIRH is the only national group working hand-in-hand with partner organizations on the ground across the country, expanding reproductive freedom everywhere.


NIRH and NIRH Action Fund staff and board have a deep commitment to racial equity, and been engaged in a multi-year process to adopt a racial equity lens across the organizations. We are a reproductive health and rights organization that incorporates reproductive justice values into our work. We recognize the interconnectivity of identities, such as race, socio-economic status, immigration status, ability, sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity, and how they interact with systems of oppressions to shape and impact a person’s freedom and ability to control their reproductive and sexual lives.

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Welcome to the Model City: a place where abortion access, for everyone, is actualized.

Only here’s the problem: we need your help to make your city a Model City. Check out the Local Reproductive Freedom Index to learn more: https://rb.gy/2eg511

What if you could find a scorecard that tells you *exactly* how well your city supports reproductive freedom?

Oh wait, it already exists, and you can find your city’s scorecard here: https://rb.gy/2eg511

Imagine a scorecard that tells you *exactly* how your city supports reproductive freedom?

Look no further, The Local Reproductive Freedom Index does just that! Check out the scorecards for the 50 most populous cities here: https://rb.gy/2eg511

Thank you to @restedrootco for leading NIRH in a transformative workshop about the non-profit industrial complex and navigating the challenges of this reality 🧡

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Liberatory Consulting | Rested Root Corp

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Can we imagine a world where cities support access to reproductive health care for all?

It’s not too far away—check out the Local Reproductive Freedom Index to learn how close your city is to reproductive freedom: https://rb.gy/2eg511

Abortion on demand means everyone must have access to an abortion when they need one. All ways, always. ❤️

In the model city: everyone can access reproductive health care when they need it.

Our cities aren’t there yet, but we are building towards this future! Learn more about what your city can do to ensure reproductive health care access is a reality: