Okay, I know this is gonna sound corny but I really would like to take this time to give “thanks” to a few people who I believe have made significant contributions to the fight for reproductive rights.
ELLIE SMEAL: For as long as I can remember, Ellie has been the head of the Feminist Majority Foundation. For many years before we met, she was an outspoken leader for the Equal Rights Amendment but at some point she segued over to the abortion rights cause. For a woman with so much inf
luence in the halls of Congress and in the White House, Ellie is one of the most unassuming people I have ever met. Years ago, when the anti-abortion terrorists started blowing up clinics and shooting our doctors, it was Ellie and her Foundation that stepped up to provide security for the abortion clinics. She was the one who arranged security briefings at the Department of Justice and spent a lot of money to protect the providers in the field. She was not always successful in her efforts, but she never stopped trying.
SENATOR BOB PACKWOOD: Okay, before you say it, I know Packwood was kind of a sleaze ball. I
remember as well as anyone the sexual harassment, the womanizing and all of the other stuff. But, I have to say that before the allegations came to light Bob Packwood was always there for the pro-choice movement. He was our leader, no doubt about it. He was one of the first elected officials to go out there and say the frigging “A” word. He led the filibuster against the proposed constitutional amendment that would have banned abortion. Indeed, I remember how he actually pissed some other pro-choice Senators off because he wanted to be the ONLY Senator out there engaging in the filibuster. Such was his ego. Ultimately, under his leadership we sounded defeated the constitutional amendment.
DOCTOR GEORGE TILLER: So much has been said about the late George Tiller. Let me just say that he was a man of his convictions. He did not hide, he spoke honestly about his work, he vigorously defended the right of a woman to obtain a late term abortion. He was a politically savvy physician who contributed thousands and thousands of dollars to help elect pro-choice candidates. He supported the national organizations that supported the abortion providers. He was our leader – plain and simple.
DAVID GUNN, JR: After his father, Doctor David Gunn, was assassinated as he approached his abortion clinic in Pensacola, David Gunn Jr. burst onto the national scene. Many people in the abortion provider community did not know his father, but we all quickly “adopted” David, Jr. The first time that most people saw him was when he appeared on “The Donohue Show” just a week after the murder. Millions of people came to admire the young man who sat on the stage stoically while he listened to Mr. Paul Hill suggest that his father’s murder was “justifiable homicide.” After that appearance, David went on a speaking tour (despite struggling with an obvious stutter) and raised money for a number of abortion provider organizations. At one point, he even offered to have his photo taken to be used in a full page New York Times ad to raise money for the National Coalition of Abortion Providers. Over the years, David and I became good friends but today I have no idea where David is.
THE NOVEMBER GANG: This small “support group” of abortion rights activists took me under their wing when I joined the National Coalition of Abortion Providers. For years, they served as my moral compass and my political conscience, both professionally and personally. I was able to let my hair down with these folks and got through some very rough times because of them. Many thanks to Renee, Charlotte, Claire, Peg and the others…..
Finally, thanks to my spouse and my two boys for putting up with all of the “stuff” that they had to endure when I was out there representing the abortion provider cause. You have no idea what they went through over those years.