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Featured Video: Intimate Wars by Merle Hoffman

About Us

ON THE ISSUES MAGAZINE ONLINE is a successor to the print publication, On The Issues Magazine, a progressive, feminist quarterly print publication from 1983 to 1999, both published by Choices Women’s Medical Center, Merle Hoffman, President and CEO, located in Long Island City, New York. For inquiries about On The Issues Magazine, contact managingeditor@ontheissuesmagazine.com

Merle Hoffman, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, is an award winning Journalist, activist, political organizer and women's health care pioneer. She is the Founder, President and CEO of CHOICES Women’s Medical Center, one of the nation's largest and most comprehensive women's medical facilities.

In 2011 to 2012, Merle Hoffman celebrates the 40th Anniversary of Choices Women's Medical Center and the January 2012 publication of her memoirs:

The Life and Times of the Woman Who Brought Abortion from
the Back Alley to the Board Room

(published by Feminist Press)

AVAILABLE NOW from IntimateWars.com

Established in 1971 with a vision of patient empowerment through knowledge and education -- “Patient Power" -- Choices serves more than 50,000 patients a year. She also established Choices Mental Health Center which specialized in the treatment of rape incest and domestic violence. In an historic joint venture with the Yelstin Government she worked on developing the first feminist outpatient medical center in Russia as well as organizing Russian Feminists to deliver an open letter to Boris Yeltsin on the state of women's health care. As an activist and organizer, Hoffman was co-founder of the National Abortion Federation (NAF), founder of the New York Pro-Choice Coalition, and organized the first pro-choice civil disobedience action at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. She is a frequent media guest and speaker, including at the 1995 International Women’s Conference in Beijing. She co-produced the documentary film, “Abortion: A Different Light," and produced and hosted a thirty minute cable TV show entitled "MH: On The Issues." In 2002, she was appointed to the National Advisory Board of American Philosophical Practitioners Association. Her archives were acquired by Duke University in 2002 and are a major part of the Sally Bingham Center's women's History papers. Hoffman has been honored for her work by the Department of Corrections of New York City, National Organization for Women (NOW), Women's Health Care Services, Ecovisions, Community Action Network, the National Victim's Center, the Congress of Racial Equality, the Veteran Feminists of America, former NYC Mayor Ed Koch, and others. Hoffman writes frequently on topics related to women, politics and medical care, including for the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Journal of American Women's Associations, in addition to her groundbreaking interviews and editorials in On The Issues Magazine.
To contact: merle@ontheissuesmagazine.com

Dr. Phyllis Chesler, our long-time Editor at Large, is an Emerita Professor of Psychology and Women’s Studies at CUNY and the author of twenty books, including “Women and Madness,”(1972) “Mothers on Trial: The Battle for Children and Custody,”(1986) “Sacred Bond. The Legacy of Baby M” (1988) and “Woman’s Inhumanity to Woman.” (2002). She is a co-founder of the Association for Women in Psychology (1969) and the National Women’s Health Network (1975).

Sarah Browning, Co-Poetry Editor, is director of Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness and DC Poets Against the War. She is the author of Whiskey in the Garden of Eden (The Word Works, 2007) and co-editor of D.C. Poets Against the War: An Anthology (Argonne House Press, 2004). The recipient of an artist fellowship from the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities, she has also received a Creative Communities Initiative grant and the People Before Profits Poetry Prize. She was founding director of Amherst Writers & Artists Institute - creative writing workshops for low-income women and youth - and Assistant Director of The Fund for Women Artists, an organization supporting socially-engaged art by women. She co-hosts the Sunday Kind of Love reading series at Busboys and Poets in Washington, DC, where she lives with her husband and son.

Judith Arcana, Co-Poetry Editor, writes poems, stories, essays and books; her work has been published widely for more than thirty years, in print and online. She’s the author of two classic motherhood studies, Our Mothers’ Daughters and Every Mother’s Son, as well as Grace Paley’s Life Stories, A Literary Biography and the recent poetry collection What if your mother. Judith is a frequent speaker and performer of her work at colleges, community events, libraries and bookstores. Her newest book is 4th Period English, a chapbook of poems about immigration and related themes – about which Alicia Ostriker has written: “Judith Arcana’s 4th Period English is so wonderful, I feel privileged to have read it, and I wish it were part of every curriculum starting right now…. This is absolutely terrific writing.” Visit her website juditharcana.com
To contact: Judith@ontheissuesmagazine.com

Mark D. Phillips, Technology and Creative Design Director, is a former photojournalist, working for over twenty years with three newspapers and two major news services. In 1992, he won First Place awards for his Sports photography in the Pictures of the Year competition and First Place from the Baseball Hall of Fame while working for Agence France-Presse. In 1994, he and five photographers formed a company to combine traditional media and new technology. Later that year, he experimented with photo transmission while in South Africa covering Nelson Mandela’s election as the first black president. In 2001, as a witness to the World Trade Center attacks, he captured on camera an eerie image that came to be known as “Satan in the Smoke” and received enormous worldwide attention across the Internet. A Brooklyn resident, Phillips is president of SouthBrooklyninternet.com.
To contact: mark@ontheissuesmagazine.com

Linda Stein, Art Editor, is an artist-activist, lecturer, performer, and video artist. She has been creating sculpture that explores themes of protection and justice for the past three decades. The culmination of this sculptural exploration is Knights, a series that depicts the human body as armor. Stein’s solo exhibition, The Fluidity of Gender: Sculpture by Linda Stein, will be traveling the country through 2013, accompanied by her feminist lecture, The Chance to be Brave, The Courage to Dare. Stein is the Founding President of the non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation, Have Art: Will Travel! Inc. and V.P. of the Women’s Caucus for Art. Recently, her 7-foot bronze sculpture was placed at Portland State University in Oregon, and she is currently displaying an installation of five 8-foot windows in Downtown Crossing, Boston. Her work can also be seen on her blog, YouTube Vidoes, andwebsite, and her archives can be found at Smith College. The core of Stein’s work addresses issues of empowerment by focusing on the causes and effects of oppression -- specifically, sexism, racism and homophobia. To contact: LindaStein@ontheissuesmagazine.com

Eleanor Bader, Contributing Editor, teaches college English and journalism. She writes for The Brooklyn Rail, The Indypendent, Z Magazine, The Progressive, The L Magazine, RHRealityCheck.org and Library Journal. She is also an activist and the co-author of Targets of Hatred: Anti-Abortion Terrorism (Palgrave/St.Martin's Press, 2001).

Vanessa Valenti, Social Media and Editorial Consultant, is a feminist blogger and online strategist. She is the co-founder and an editor of Feministing.com and lives in Queens with a boy and their two cats. You can find more information about Vanessa and her work here.



Eleanor J. Bader (Nurses Unionize to Heal the System) is a freelance writer, teacher and activist. She writes for The Brooklyn Rail, RHRealityCheck.org, The Progressive, Theasy.com, Truthout.org and other progressive and feminist blogs and publications.

Elizabeth Black (50 Shades of Grey, Erotica and the Bondage Craze), a pseudonym, is a sex writer and erotic fiction writer who lives on the Massachusetts coast with her husband, son and four cats. Her articles have appeared in On The Issues Magazine, Alternet, CarnalNation, Sexis Magazine, The Huffington Post, the Circlet Press blog, the Good Vibrations blog and Ms. Magazine's Blog. Friend her on Facebook, visit her website and view her Amazon Author Page.

Susan F. Feiner (Living Up to the New Deal) is Professor of Economics and Professor of Women's and Gender Studies at the University of Southern Maine, Portland ME. She writes a monthly column for the Portland Press Herald and contributes to Women's eNews.

Jan Goodwin (Fracking's Health Calamities Left to Fester) is an author, award-winning journalist for national publications, and a Senior Fellow at Brandeis University's Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism.

Jamie J. Hagen (Global "Security" Equals Human Security and Gender Rights) is a New York City-based writer and research consultant with a M.A. from CUNY Brooklyn College in Political Science, where she studied political theory. Hagan has written on feminism and women, peace and security, veganism, and LGBTQ politics for publications such as Autostraddle and One Green Planet.

Samuel Huber (The Book Corner: Women Define the Agenda, Find the Power), written with the Feminist Press, is a student at Yale University and a former intern at the Feminist Press at CUNY. He is the executive editor of the online feminist magazine Broad Recognition.

Amanda Marcotte (No Dancing: The Right Aims to Take Down Sexual Liberation) is a Brooklyn-based former Texan. She writes for Pandagon, Double X, and RH Reality Check, and has published two books, It's A Jungle Out There and Get Opinionated.

Dani McClain (Can Black Women Lead the Way in Redefining Marriage?) is a communications strategist with a knack for identifying key opportunities and crafting messages that motivate. Since 2008, she has worked with ColorOfChange, the nation's largest online black political organization, and currently serves as the group's campaign and media director. Before working in online organizing, McClain covered education while on staff at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, reported for the Miami Herald's metro desk, and worked to end racially discriminatory drug laws as a communications staffer at Drug Policy Alliance. Last year, she was selected by the online magazine, The Root, as one of 20 leading black women social activists. She serves on the board of Allied Media Projects.

Tanya Melich (Broken Politics: Republicans Assail Suffrage Itself) is a founding member of the feminist political movement. She was the first to document the 2012 themes of the GOP war against women in her 1996 book, The Republican War Against Women: An Insider's Report From Behind the Lines.

Mary E. Plouffe Ph.D. (Standing Our Ground: Beyond Maslow's Basic Needs) is a clinical psychologist and writer who lives and works in South Freeport, Maine. She writes essays, creative non-fiction and memoir. Her work has been published on National Public Radio, On the Issues Magazine, Survivor Review and Marco Polo Arts magazine among others. Additional information at www.maryplouffe.com.

Jennifer L. Pozner (My Feminist Media Road Trip: Time to Take The Wheel) is a media critic, public speaker, and the author of Reality Bites Back: The Troubling Truth About Guilty Pleasure TV. She is founder and executive director of Women in Media & News, a media analysis, education and advocacy group; editor of the group blog, WIMN's Voices, and an adviser for the OWN documentary, Miss Representation.

Kimberly Roberson (Fukushima's Hot Water: Now Fallout in Our Kitchens?) is a certified Diet Counselor and Nutrition Educator and has served on the board of the National Association of Nutrition Professionals. She has also worked at Sane/Freeze, CALPIRG, and Greenpeace USA and lobbied for environmental and natural health issues on the state and federal level, and at the Food and Drug Administration. She is founder of Fukushima Fallout Awareness Network (FFAN) and author of Silence Deafening, Fukushima Fallout…A Mother's Response. More information on radiation and food safety issue is at www.silencedeafening.com.

Juhu Thukral (Victims of Gender Violence Find Solutions Slipping Away) is a leading expert on the rights of low-income and immigrant women in the areas of sexual health and rights, gender-based violence, economic security and criminal justice. She is a founder of numerous ventures supporting women and LGBT people, including the Sex Workers Project and the NY Anti-Trafficking Network. She has been recognized as one of the "21 Leaders for the 21st Century 2012."

Diane Vacca (Getting Closer to the Levers of Power), political bureau chief of Women's Voices for Change.org, trained as a medievalist and taught medieval literature, Spanish and Italian at several universities before becoming a journalist with specialties in politics, the arts and New York City. Her work can also be found at Vacca Bureau of Investigation, Comedy Beat and the New York City biweekly, Chelsea Now, where she covers everything from education and public housing to landmark designation and the arts.

Nick Van der Graaf (The Abortion Rights Looking Glass: Canada Reflects Women First) is a journalist and activist living in Toronto. He has covered politics and social issues in Canada, the U.S. and South Africa. He has been involved with the pro-choice movement for more than 20 years, and written and broadcast about abortion rights for NOW Magazine, The Mark and CBC Radio. His essay "Rights and Autonomy" will be published in the collection Voices on Choice(s): Reflections on Abortion in Canada (2013). A regular contributor to Huffington Post, he blogs at neodemokratia.ca.

Susan Yanow, MSW, (Silos No More: Building Alliances for Reproductive Justice) is a long-time reproductive rights activist. Yanow was the founding Executive Director of the Abortion Access Project. She is currently a consultant to a number of U.S and international reproductive rights and health organizations that work to advance access to abortion, including ANSIRH (Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health) at UCSF, Ibis Reproductive Health, the Reproductive Health Access Project (RHAP), the International Consortium on Medical Abortion (ICMA), Women on Web and Women on Waves. She has also consulted with the Byllye Avery Institute for Social Change, Gynuity, Planned Parenthood New York City and SisterSong. She serves on the Boards of the ACLU of Massachusetts, NARAL ProChoice Massachusetts, the Cambridge Commission on the Status of Women and Chennai Children.


Sonja de Vries (Fragments (Love Poem for a Soldier)) is a documentary filmmaker and writer living in Louisville, Kentucky. Her first book, Planting A Garden In Baghdad, was recently published by Finishing Line Press. She teaches creative writing and poetry throughout the Louisville area and is working on integrating film and poetry. de Vries is currently working on a video poetry trilogy, with poems on the issue of Palestine.

Linda Hogan (Rapture) is Writer in Residence for The Chickasaw Nation and an internationally recognized public speaker and writer of poetry, fiction, and essays. Her two new books are Rounding the Human Corners (Coffee House Press, April 2008, Pulitzer nominee) and People of the Whale (Norton, August 2008). She has received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship and, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas, among many other honors.

Zohra Saed (Kabul) is the co-editor of One Story, Thirty Stories: An Anthology of Contemporary Afghan American Literature (University of Arkansas Press). Her poetry has appeared in: Voices of Resistance: Muslim Women on War, Faith and Sexuality; Speaking for Herself: Asian Women's Writings; Seven Leaves One Autumn; and, most recently, Sahar Muradi & Zohra Saed: Misspelled Cities (Notebook #105, documenta 13).

Janice Lynch Schuster (Aly dreams of the SATs) writes about aging, health care and women's issues. She is a proud member of Disruptive Women in Health Care. A senior writer for Altarum Institute, she the author of several nonfiction books, as well as the poetry collection, Saturday at the Gym. She blogs at www.janicelynchschuster.com.


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Intimate Wars

Intimate Wars book cover
The Life and Times
of the Woman
Who Brought Abortion
from the
Back Alley
to the
Board Room

• Merle Hoffman, publisher of On The Issues Magazine


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