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Ellen R. Shaffer
Ellen R. Shaffer is Co-Director of the Center for Policy Analysis which conducts policy research and analysis on access to health care, on reproductive health, and on globalization and health. It sponsors the Trust Women/Silver Ribbon Campaign for reproductive health, rights and justice. She blogs on these issues at The EQUAL campaign for Equitable, Quality, Universal, Affordable addresses health reform: . Dr. Shaffer served as the senior health policy advisor to U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone from 1992 to 1995, guiding staff work on national health care reform and for managed care patients' rights. She has written a proposal for a state-based universal health service, under a grant from the California Health Care Options Project. The proposal extends her work with U.S. Representative Barbara Lee on H.R. 3080, the U.S. Universal Health Service Act. She also co-directs the Center for Policy Analysis on Trade and Health (CPATH), a project of the Center for Policy Analysis, and explores the links between international trade agreements, vital human services and health. She is an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Clinical Pharmacy at the University of California, San Francisco, and a member of the Executive Board of the American Public Health Association. Projects have included the politics chapter for Our Bodies Ourselves, a review of the literature on medication errors, a survey of state policies on neonatal intensive care units, dissertation research on deregionalization of neonatal intensive care units in California, a book chapter on the impact of the changing health care system on women with breast cancer, and studies on the implications of health care reform proposals for California immigrants and for other low-income workers. She has a Masters in Public Health from the University of California at Berkeley, a Ph.D. from the School of Hygiene and Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, and is a Certified Employee Benefits Specialist.

Entries by Ellen R. Shaffer

Pinning Their Sin On the Donald: The Republican Party, Champions of Diversity

(10) Comments | Posted March 31, 2016 | 5:53 PM

The Republican Party is shocked -- shocked! -- that the Donald proposes to run for office on their ticket.

Paul Ryan and Lindsey Graham, those darling men who have campaigned righteously to cut public budgets and criminalize women and communities of color, tell us the "crazies" have taken over their...

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Who's in Charge Here: The SOTU and the Loony Right

(0) Comments | Posted January 13, 2016 | 10:30 AM

I never recovered from President Obama's betrayal and dismantling of the grassroots organizing he galvanized in 2007-8. So I consciously edited my flutters of hope as he gazed directly into the camera during his final State of the Union address to implore the American public to actively repudiate xenophobic fascism,...

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Pope Francis, Inequality and Abortion

(76) Comments | Posted September 6, 2015 | 10:45 AM

Women are unlikely to ask priests to forgive us for having an abortion. But we should welcome a conversation with Pope Francis about providing relief from the damage Catholics and others suffer as a result the Church's obstinately backwards position of recent decades.

Stigmatizing abortion is a significant driver of...

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Escalating Drug Prices Likely from Secret "Fast Track" Trade Bill

(0) Comments | Posted June 10, 2015 | 3:35 PM

Congress could vote this week on a "Fast-Track" trade bill that would dump a double whammy on the many Americans whose health and finances are already hit hard by the high price of prescription drugs. Wikileaks and the NY Times today published a draft chapter on...

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Senators: Vote No on Fast Track!

(2) Comments | Posted May 11, 2015 | 2:21 PM

Senators should vote this Tuesday to stop the "Fast-Track" bill/Trade Promotion Authority Act (TPA), which would lock in the president's power to negotiate trade deals in secret, consulting with privileged corporate advisors but without input from the public, or Congress.

Further, it would bind Congress to abdicate its democratic...

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TPP, Fast Track, Will Drive Consumers to China for Affordable Medicines

(9) Comments | Posted May 9, 2015 | 2:56 PM

Contrary to the Obama Administration's claims, the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) could boost China's standing as a global leader in the development, production and sale of affordable generic drugs.

The Administration claims that the TPP is imperative in the race for "U.S.-style" economic and political world dominance, triumphing...

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Women's Lives (Should) Matter!

(0) Comments | Posted April 13, 2015 | 2:35 PM

The campaign to eliminate the right to safe, legal abortions is intentional, relentless and political. The consequences are real, personal and frightening. Attacks on abortion rights further entrench discrimination against women, and erode our national commitment to social and economic justice.

We must demand accountability from the politicians who claim...

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Progressive Leadership on Covering Abortions

(0) Comments | Posted April 13, 2015 | 9:54 AM

The Senate reconvenes on Monday, April 13, 2015, facing a vote on H.R. 2. It's a shining opportunity to reclaim leadership for covering abortion care for all women regardless of their income, source of insurance, or where they live.

An overwhelming bipartisan majority in the House agreed...

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Celebrating Women's Day, Winning on Reproductive Rights

(0) Comments | Posted March 7, 2014 | 2:18 PM

Silence equals death.

California AIDS activists taught the world the power of plain and direct talk about gender bias and sexuality to save lives.

The ability to control whether and when to have a child are key to the physical, social and economic health of women and families, and access...

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Abortion Rights: We Can Handle the Truth

(1) Comments | Posted January 17, 2014 | 2:49 PM


When it comes to abortion rights, we can handle the truth.

Many are stunned to see banners falsely claiming that "abortion hurts women" hanging from the city's publicly managed lamp posts on Market Street in San Francisco.

The Roe v Wade...

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Tobacco: Symbol of Corrupt Trade Policy

(4) Comments | Posted December 18, 2013 | 9:21 AM

The deadly tobacco industry increasingly deploys trade charges intended to bludgeon countries from Uruguay to Australia into abandoning policies that keep kids from getting addicted, and help smokers quit, as well documented in the New York Times.

The U.S. Trade Representative should fix this problem during negotiations on...

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Stop TPP Protections for Big Tobacco

(5) Comments | Posted September 9, 2013 | 9:28 PM

The U.S. has a rare opportunity this week to rein in the tobacco industry, and assert its mandate to protect and save lives, while proudly exercising cross-border diplomacy. The U.S. Trade Representative should accept a proposal to carve protections for Big Tobacco out of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), a...

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Top 10 Problems With a 20-Week Abortion Ban

(2) Comments | Posted July 31, 2013 | 6:15 PM

The same Congress that failed to popularize rape, can't stop themselves from attacking immigrants, and votes to shut down government funds for food stamps and cut Medicare while shoveling subsidies to agribusiness and drug companies -- they have a new plan to divide and conquer: the 20-week abortion ban. What...

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Tahrir to Occupy and Back: Now What?

(0) Comments | Posted July 10, 2013 | 12:01 PM

Some observations en route:

We have not evolved organizational political forms that allow/encourage humans to distribute power, and in particular to interact effectively with agency and respect, to integrate, accommodate, and where appropriate discard minority interests.

We can communicate online at warp speed to organize: protests and expressions...

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On Women's Day: We Need to Focus on Birth Control

(3) Comments | Posted March 8, 2013 | 6:55 PM

Women and men of all races and religions turned out in droves in November to reject ignorant bigoted candidates who professed that God sanctions rape. After two years of attacks in Congress and the states on birth control and abortion, we showed that many voters respond positively to hearing about...

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The Zipless Election of 2012

(1) Comments | Posted December 9, 2012 | 10:09 AM

2012 was a zipless election. Although the public was demonstrably present for the experience, somehow we didn't feel completely engaged.

It seemed to morph into a contest between dirty tricks and voter suppression tactics on one side, countered by techno wizardry and micro-sampling of key voters in...

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Abortion: Raddatz Elicits VP and Ryan's Real, True, Unvarnished Positions

(3) Comments | Posted October 12, 2012 | 12:54 PM

Let's hear it for Martha Raddatz, the brilliantly skillful moderator of the vice-presidential debate: She got a clear yes from Rep. Paul Ryan to this question: "If the Romney-Ryan ticket is elected, should those who believe that abortion should remain legal be worried?"

But first,...

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Women, Choice and Power

(0) Comments | Posted August 25, 2012 | 10:51 AM

Turns out, women are a key voting bloc in the upcoming election. It's up to us to demand credible commitments that address our concerns, as we get each other engaged and voting.

While this election offers women a clear choice, polls show the two parties running neck and neck. Here's...

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I Know It's Only Birth Control, But I Like It -- And So Do You

(27) Comments | Posted August 6, 2012 | 11:10 AM

The Gallup poll from May says a lot about what is at stake politically on the issue of birth control: It's a slam-dunk winner for anyone who supports it. Birth control is considered morally acceptable by 90 percent of Americans. Not only that. It is considered morally acceptable...

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Mr. President: Campaign on Health Care!

(3) Comments | Posted July 1, 2012 | 4:46 PM

Dear Mr. President:

You won on health care. Campaign on it.

You won historic legislation in 2010. Your advisers told you to change the subject and campaign on the economy. You lost the mid-term elections, big time.

You won a victory in the Supreme Court this week. The same advisers...

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