The debate over reproductive rights has raged in America almost since the nation’s founding. Things got particularly ugly in the early 1900’s when Margaret Sanger came on the scene. She was arrested several times for trying to educate women about birth control. But she didn’t allow her stints in jail to stop her; Sanger founded Planned Parenthood of America. The controversial organization that’s devoted to educating women about reproductive health and choices.
The Alabama chapter of Planned Parenthood began in Birmingham in 1930. It now provides services to women in other parts of the state as well as Mississippi. This is its 75th year in operation and a big name came to town to help celebrate the anniversary.
Gloria Feldt spent almost nine years as president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. During her tenure she helped increase the organization’s revenue and led the fight to make sure insurance companies covered the cost of contraception.
But her time there wasn’t without controversy — most recently Feldt came under fire for backing John Kerry in the November election, the first time Planned Parenthood backed a political candidate in its history. She stepped down from her position in January of this year. But she says that hasn’t stopped her from speaking out on reproductive rights. If anything, she says, it’s actually made her more vocal.
Feldt is also the author of the book The War on Choice: The Right-Wing Attack on Women’s Rights and How to Fight Back.