If you've been a strip mall anywhere in America lately, you've probably seen a Curves gym – the ladies-only fitness center with the 30-minute circuit workout system. It's well known that the franchise's founder and CEO, Gary Heavin, has given to anti-abortion causes. So when the Office on Women's Heath, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), announced that it was teaming up with the ubiquitous chain to promote National Women's Health Week this May, some in the reproductive rights community were none too pleased.
Curves, whose nearly 10,000 clubs around the globe make it the largest fitness franchise in the world, is listed as an official partner for the National Women's Health Week (NWHW), which runs from May 13 (Mother's Day) to May 19. The partnership includes events to "educate and inform women on a variety of health and wellness topics" at Curves locations that DHHS will promote on its website and its Facebook and Twitter feeds. Curves is also providing coupons for free one-month memberships to anyone who attends NWHW events, as well as free publicity for the week in the franchise's in-house magazine, Diane. The agreement also designates May 17 as "National Curves Day," which DHHS will promote in its materials. (More details on the partnership are included in a memorandum of understanding between DHHS and Curves International, which was obtained by Mother Jones).
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