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Laurie Schwab Zabin

Laurie Schwab Zabin’s work in reproductive health changed how Americans approach sex education and teen pregnancy. After attending a Planned Parenthood meeting in 1951, Zabin began working as public relations coordinator for the Maryland office, successfully campaigning to make Baltimore the first city to allow social workers to refer clients for family planning. She served as director of the Planned Parenthood Association of Maryland for more than a decade. In 1979, Zabin earned a PhD in population dynamics from Johns Hopkins University, writing her thesis on teen pregnancy. Her findings that young women were most at risk for an unwanted pregnancy in their first month of sexual activity highlighted the need for sex education before teenagers became sexually active. Zabin taught at Johns Hopkins in both the school of medicine and the department of population dynamics. In 1999 she became founding director of the Bill and Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health, through which she worked to create successful policies in family planning and health systems for countries all over the world.

Laurie Schwab Zabin was honored at the 2002 Women Who Dared event in Baltimore.

Laurie Schwab Zabin
Full image
Laurie Schwab Zabin.
Courtesy of Joan Roth.
Date of Birth

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Laurie Schwab Zabin." (Viewed on December 19, 2018) <>.


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