Gloria Feldt

Gloria Feldt is author of four books. The latest, coming Oct. 2010 is No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power. She is former president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and currently a keynote speaker and frequent media commentator on women, leadership, and politics. She serves on the board of the Women’s Media Center.

All Work

Want Rights? Just Take Them

Gloria Feldt

Women need to start assuming equality at all levels as our perfect right, as boys and men are socialized to do from birth.  And then we need to act.

The Democrats’ Own Trojan Horse Kicks Free

Gloria Feldt

I am not convinced by after-the-fact reassurances that the final health reform bill will not include the Stupak amendment. That’s because the table for expanding prohibitions on abortion was set by the Democrats themselves.

Why I Didn’t Write a Check for Obama Last Night

Gloria Feldt

Obama's recent comments backing away from a comprehensive mental health exception to the federal abortion ban and supporting abstinence education are far more likely to alienate feminist voters than win over conservative ones.

Why Hillary Clinton Is the Best Choice for Women

Gloria Feldt

As women who have spent our careers fighting to protect a woman's right to choose, we recognize that the next president will face serious challenges to safeguard the reproductive health of women. In our opinion, there is one candidate whose leadership on this issue is unparalleled: Hillary Clinton.

Evangelicals Split Between Romney and Huckabee

Gloria Feldt

"Evangelicals haven't fallen in love with any candidate yet," said MSNBC's Lester Holt, analyzing the Republican presidential primaries. Tsk tsk.

They are dividing their votes fairly evenly three ways tonight between John McCain, Mitt Romney, and Mike Huckabee. If I were Keith Olbermann, I might try to figure out who is worse, worser, and worst person in the race for reproductive rights. But it's such a toss-up that I'll pass on awarding that prize, so coveted by the fundamentalist hard right. . All three would overturn Roe v Wade faster than you can say "Supreme Court". But that's just the beginning of the damage each would do to women's most fundamental human rights to make their own childbearing decisions--including access to birth control--without government interference.

When I write that last phrase about government interference, I think about the late Senator Barry Goldwater--known as Mr. Conservative--would turn over in his grave. His wife Peggy was a founder of Planned Parenthood in Arizona and Barry was a staunch supporter of reproductive rights precisely because he believed such personal matters weren't the government's business. And he once said good Christians ought to kick Moral Majority founder Rev. Jerry Falwell in the ass. Republicans of Goldwater's stripe are rare as hen's teeth these days, thanks to an unholy alliance between the Republican party and the fundamentalists that was nurtured over a generation at the grassroots precinct level where control of the party mechanism begins. That's why those who think the fundamentalist right is losing steam need to think again.

Yes, everyone wants to fall in love with a candidate. But in the end, this is a group that does what all citizens in a democracy should do: the unromantic work of sustained participating in the political process. And if history is a predictor, they are likely to continue to do so in a much more disciplined way than the Democratic constituencies tend to do. So watch out. If you care about reproductive justice, be very afraid of any of these candidates. Batten down the hatches and be prepared to work very hard between now and November. Because when it comes to advancing the fundamentalist right’s goals, Tina Turner was right: love has very little to do with it.

Women Can Make Up Their Own Minds, Andrew Sullivan

Gloria Feldt

For the last few days, the Internet has been buzzing with impassioned presidential endorsements by feminists, many of whom have been in or even leading the movement for decades and others who are the bright young voices of the present and the future. This extraordinary piece of cultural criticism by Robin Morgan is my personal favorite. Seems the women of America have found their voices concerning whom they do and don't support, thank you very much.

So where then does Andrew Sullivan (yes, the conservative -- though gay and HIV positive -- put those together with "conservative" for an amazing oxymoron) pundit get off in his thinly veiled misogynist attempt to instruct feminists on how to vote? Yes, the same Andrew Sullivan who acknowledged posting ads soliciting "bareback" sex and pled his right to privacy in such matters even while asserting that Roe v wade should be overturned. That Andrew Sullivan.

His punch line: One day, there will be a woman worth electing to the White House. But not this one. Fortunately, Echidne of the Snakes has written an outstanding analysis of Sullivan's warped attempt to retain his own gender's hegemony.

Here's an excerpt:

Because there is always something else that is more important than women. A war must be won before they can get the right to vote, or a depression must be fixed before women's concerns can be addressed, or a revolution must be finished first or an occupier must be vanquished, or something else equally important must take precedence. Women. Never. Come. First. I remember an interview with an Afghan man when the Taliban first came into power there. At first his daughters could go to school only in burqas and wearing gloves. Then they couldn't go to school at all. This educated man said that the time to worry about his daughters' education was to be later. First they needed to get the warring over. And so it goes. Always. In twenty years' time, when some future Andrew Sullivan gives you that very same excuse, remember this post.

Women have always tended to put others before themselves. But as those conflicting e-mails whizzing through cyberspace prove, women are thinking deeply about this election. Whatever reasons we might have for voting one way or another, let us not allow the Andrew Sullivans of the world to determine the worthiness of our decisions.

I Am Roe, and I Have Questions

Gloria Feldt

The elections will determine the future for all of us Roes. That's why a mortally wounded Roe v Wade's 35th anniversary requires the candidates to answer my questions in full.

Border Crossings, Both Ways

Gloria Feldt

One relationship between the U.S. and Mexico is seldom acknowledged: the movement of women across the border in both directions to obtain abortions.

Turn Down The Heat On Clinic Protests

Gloria Feldt

This week anti-choice extremist organization Operation Save America will descend upon the New Woman, All Women Healthcare Clinic; Gloria Feldt asks all of us to reflect on our role in the drama.

Thank You, Imus, for a Teachable Moment

Gloria Feldt

"Was there ever any domination that did not appear natural to those who possessed it?"John Stuart Mill

This is a Moment with a capital "M." The opportunity for fundamental social change doesn't come often, so let's take full advantage of it.

Shock jock Don Imus's racist and sexist remarks about the Rutgers University women's basketball team didn't go beyond his typical bottom feeder discourse, but in this age of YouTube and internet rapid response capability, his sleazy pot shots against a target so clearly undeserving of epithets have captured the nation's attention. We've been riveted to the story and it has brought us together. Interest soon turned to outrage; the outrage continues to mushroom into new social expectations. Suddenly it is Imus who's shocked. Even Oprah is talking about it, and when a story reaches that level, you know Imus had better head for rehab fast because the times, they are a-changing.

An Auspicious D.C. Tea Party

Gloria Feldt

Gloria Feldt is a leading expert in women's rights, women's health, and politics from where the personal meets the political. She is also a Women's Media Center board member.

Change is in the air this week in Washington, D.C. "This is what happens when they ban smoking in those smoke-filled rooms," observed Congresswoman Rosa De Lauro (D-CT) as she welcomed some 1,000 women to high tea January 3 in honor of the first female speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

The mood in the Mellon Auditorium on Capitol Hill was buoyant among this gathering of partisans and issue advocates. Many, like me, have tasted both victory and defeat time after time in the struggle to advance liberty and justice for women. Now, with Nancy Pelosi leading a newly elected Democratic majority, a question was raised repeatedly in conversations throughout the elegant hall: "Will this time really be different?"

Are Ovaries Necessary to See Need for Birth Control?

Gloria Feldt

Gloria Feldt is a leading expert in women's rights, women's health, and politics from where the personal meets the political.

Part two of a small series in honor of the Oct. 16, 2006, anniversary of the first American birth control clinic, with the purpose of exploring why birth control is still at stake today and what we must do to secure the right and access to it:

Fresh out of ob/gyn residency at Harvard's Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston in the late 1960's, a young physician went to Nigeria to teach obstetrics. Dr. Allan Rosenfield was distressed to his core by the state of health among the women he saw. So when the Population Council, a U.S. based nonprofit organization, offered him a position working with the Thai Health Ministry to help start Thailand's family planning program, he jumped at the opportunity.

He visited training programs for traditional birth attendants in rural Thailand, where he concluded maternal health would not be significantly improved unless women could also get emergency care for complications and contraception to prevent pregnancies from coming too close together. He saw the dire consequences of unsafe abortion.

Humpty Dumpty Keroack

Gloria Feldt

Gloria Feldt is a leading expert in women's rights, women's health, and politics from where the personal meets the political.

With W, up is down and down is sideways. We've grown inured to the duplicity, the sleight of hand, the wink while Halliburton profits as our sons and daughters die in Iraq, the ruthlessness with which the 1 percent get richer while the rest of us get a burgeoning national debt and fewer of us get health insurance.

So it's no surprise that the man talks piously about creating a culture of life while taking funding from lifesaving prevention programs like family planning and giving it to abstinence only preachers. This makes the U. S. the laughingstock of the world's public health organizations and in the end paradoxically increases disease, unintended pregnancies, abortions, and deaths.

Toward Securing Motherhood in Freedom

Gloria Feldt

Gloria Feldt is the author of "The War on Choice," keynote speaker, and former president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. She is currently working on a book with Kathleen Turner called "Take the Lead, Lady!"

Part one of a small series in honor of the Oct. 16 anniversary of the first American birth control clinic, with the purpose of exploring why birth control is still at stake today and what we must do to secure the right and access to it:

I'm not much for remembering dates. Birthdays and anniversaries tend to escape me, even my own. Maybe especially my own--some people call that denial.

But I have been thinking about the upcoming 90th anniversary of the first American birth control movement on Oct. 16. And I've been wondering what Margaret Sanger would think if she could spend a day with me checking out the state of the movement that dates its beginning with the opening day of that clinic on Amboy Street near Pitkin Avenue in the Brownsville district of Brooklyn.

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