- Pro-abortion activist
- Served as president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America from 1996 to 2005
- Was a chief organizer of the “March for Women’s Lives,” an April 2004 pro-abortion rally held in Washington, DC
Gloria Feldt was born into a Jewish family on April 13, 1942 in Temple, Texas. When she became pregnant at age 15, she and her 19-year-old boyfriend got married and moved to the town of Odessa. Feldt attended college part-time from 1962-74, earning a BA degree from the University of Texas. When Feldt was 32, she reached what she would later term her “midlife crisis” and divorced her husband. “It was a desperate feeling,” Feldt recalls, “that the entire framework I had so carefully constructed to make myself the ideal wife of the 1950s and Supermom of the ’60s had collapsed.”
In 1974 Feldt joined the Permian Basin, Texas office of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA). Four years later she became the head of PPFA’s Central Northern Arizona office, a position she held until 1996.
From 1996-2005, Feldt was the national CEO and president of PPFA. During that period, she was instrumental in bringing her pro-abortion message to America’s teenage demographic. Toward that end, PPFA in 1999 launched Teenwire.com, a website promoting the notion that “abortion is a very safe procedure” which poses no serious threat to either the physical or emotional well-being of a woman.
During her tenure at the helm of Planned Parenthood, Feldt was a key figure in the movement to force health-insurance companies to cover the cost of contraceptives. Under Feldt’s leadership, PPFA in 2000 filed a class-action lawsuit charging that an employer whose health-insurance plan covered most prescription drugs, but excluded contraceptives, was illegally discriminating against its female workers. “It’s sex discrimination when male employees get their basic health care needs covered by insurance, but women are forced to pay for their own,” said Feldt.
Feldt was also instrumental in fighting for the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of Mifepristone (a.k.a. “RU-486” or the “abortion pill”). In September 2000 she said that Mifepristone was “as significant a technological advance for women’s health as the birth-control pill was 40 years ago,” enabling them “to terminate a pregnancy … earlier [and] without surgery.”
Though Feldt said in a 2000 interview that Planned Parenthood had an “organizational policy” not to formally endorse any presidential candidate, in 2004 PPFA for the first time did precisely that, endorsing Democratic standard-bearer John Kerry. Feldt explained that the decision to back Kerry was made in response to “the Bush administration’s war on choice.”
At the 2003 ceremony where Jane Fonda received Planned Parenthood’s highest honor, the Margaret Sanger Award, Feldt stated that Fonda, who had once served on the organization’s advisory board, had helped PPFA become more active in local and national politics.
In her 2004 book The War on Choice: The Right-Wing Attack on Women’s Rights and How to Fight Back, Feldt likened Bush Administration judicial nominees to the Taliban. “If only that kind of [anti-abortion] thinking were merely stupid,” she wrote. “But it’s very, very dangerous. It’s coming from the mouths of people whose views about women have a lot more in common with Afghan fundamentalists than with average, freedom-loving Americans. And the frightening truth is that more and more of these extremists are sitting on federal benches, dispensing their ideological brand of ‘justice,’ determining the last word on what we Americans can and cannot do with our lives.”
Feldt was one of the chief organizers of the April 25, 2004 “March for Women’s Lives” held in Washington, D.C. — a rally that drew more than a million demonstrators advocating for unrestricted access to taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand at any stage of pregnancy.
In 2006, Feldt was quoted as having said that the White House and both chambers of Congress were under the control of “anti-choice politicians.”
In 2008, she was quoted as saying: “I stand by Margaret Sanger’s side” as a leader of “the organization that carries on Sanger’s legacy.”
In a 2012 article which she wrote for Politico.com, Feldt warned that “if President Obama caves to the Catholic Bishops” by failing to demand that even religious organizations offer their employees health-insurance plans that include contraceptive coverage, “he is toast with the wide spectrum of progressive and middle-of-the-road women who elected him.” On the other hand, said Feldt, if Obama “can recast the debate over contraception properly into one about women’s moral and human right to make their own childbearing decisions, as well as essential to the health of women and children … he will be a hero to the 99 percent of American women, including 98 percent of Catholics, who use birth control at some time during their lives …”
In 2013 Feldt co-founded Take The Lead (TTL), a movement designed “to prepare, develop, inspire and propel women to take their fair and equal share of leadership positions across all sectors by 2025.” She subsequently served as TTL’s president.
Over the years, Feldt has taught courses in feminism at Arizona State University. She also has served as a fellow at the International Leadership Forum; a board-of-directors member of the Women’s Media Center and the Jewish Women’s Archive; and an advisory board member of Our Bodies, Ourselves. Moreover, Feldt has received numerous awards from left-wing organizations, including the Golden Apple Award from the National Organization for Women‘s Sun City, Arizona chapter (2005), and Planned Parenthood’s Margaret Sanger Award (also in 2005).
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