Q&A: ‘Fighter for the underserved’ sees shifts in family planning access over 60 years

The recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning federal protection for abortion access is just one of several pivotal legal moves affecting access to contraception and infertility care and the right to privacy underpinning this access.

Gary L. Gross, MD, has been a proponent of access to family planning resources for 60 years. In the early 1970s, he worked with members of the Family Planning Consortium of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to design a model for access to family planning using newly designated federal support for contraception known as Title X. The plan granted funds to Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD), a nongovernmental organization “that was deeply involved in all the aspects of reproductive justice, not just discussing family planning, but making family planning truly safe for families,” Gross told Healio.

Gross served as the medical director of ABCD Family Planning Services from 1981 until his retirement on March 31. ABCD recently awarded Gross its Lifetime Health Access Champion Award in recognition of his dedication.

“We can’t thank Dr. Gross enough for his tireless and outstanding work over the past 40 years to ensure that people in need throughout Boston area low-income communities receive access to the highest quality health services available, making a difference in reducing health care disparities in disadvantaged neighborhoods,” Sharon Scott-Chandler, president and CEO of ABCD, said in a press release. “He is a fighter for the underserved, a hero for the rights of women and families. He played a significant role in bringing Title X family planning services to Massachusetts, he unfailingly advocated for family planning at the state level and he provided consistent and effective leadership to the program.”