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The Guttmacher Institute’s Future

Strategic Plan for 2005–2010

Mission, Values and Guiding Principles

Approved by the Guttmacher Institute’s Board of Directors, June 23, 2005


The Guttmacher Institute advances sexual and reproductive health through an interrelated program of social science research, policy analysis and public education, designed to generate new ideas, encourage enlightened public debate, promote sound policy and program development, and, ultimately, inform individual decision-making.


The Institute’s program is guided by six overarching institutional values:

  • attention to methodological rigor and accuracy as fundamental to the integrity and credibility of the Institute’s research;
  • commitment to publishing and disseminating results of the Institute’s research, regardless of the political or programmatic ramifications, and to evi-dence-based public education and advocacy;
  • openness to using outside experts’ perspectives to enrich the Institute’s program and enhance its un-derstanding of the issues;
  • anticipation and study of emerging issues to equip the Institute to inform public debate as such issues gain prominence;
  • balance between new and ongoing priorities to ensure that the Institute is both on the cutting edge of scholarly and political thought and fully committed to core issues of continued importance; and
  • collaboration with others to expand the reach and sustainability of the Institute’s efforts.

Guiding Principles

A vision for the future. The Institute envisions a world in which all women and men have the ability to exercise their rights and responsibilities regarding sexual behavior, reproduction and family formation, freely and with dignity. Essential to this vision are societal respect for and protection of personal decision-making with regard to unwanted pregnancies and births, as well as public and private-sector policies that support individuals and couples in their efforts to become responsible and supportive parents, maintain stable family structures and balance parenting with other roles. Equally vital to the Institute’s vision are the eradication of gender inequality worldwide and the attainment of equal status, rights and responsibilities for women.

A comprehensive view of sexual and reproductive health. The Institute regards sexual and reproductive health as encompassing a wide range of people’s needs from adolescence onward. The Institute works to protect, expand and equalize access to information, services and rights that will enable women and men to

  • avoid unplanned pregnancies;
  • prevent and treat sexually transmitted infections, including HIV;
  • exercise the right to choose abortion;
  • achieve healthy pregnancies and births; and
  • have healthy, satisfying sexual relationships.

Priority attention to those with greatest need. The Institute promotes the sexual and reproductive health of all people, but gives priority attention to the needs, concerns and rights of those whose access to information, services or other societal benefits may be impeded by their age, marital status, geography or income, or because of gender, racial, ethnic, religious or cultural discrimination.

A responsibility to the United States and the world. The Institute is acutely aware of the pressing need to improve the quality of policy and programs concerning sexual and reproductive health in the Unit-ed States, and regards achieving this goal as its primary responsibility. Understanding that the political, cultural and economic power of the United States can have considerable impact on sexual and reproductive health throughout the world, the Institute places a similarly high priority on monitoring and analyzing the effects of U.S. policy on women and men in other countries.

The Institute is also mindful that across and within countries, certain commonalities underlie the circumstances in which sexuality is expressed, families or unions are formed, and children are conceived and born. Guided by this awareness, the Institute emphasizes the development and dissemination of the thematic cross-country and country-specific work that will have the greatest relevance globally.