Are You a Republican Who Supports Women’s Health? Are You Feeling Left Out? Me Too.

Republicans for Planned ParenthoodThe following guest post comes to us via Cynde Cerf, director of communications and marketing for Planned Parenthood Arizona.

I am a registered Republican and I work at Planned Parenthood. With the way politics have been in our state, this statement seems contrary. But, there are a lot of Republicans who stand with the Planned Parenthood mission and I am just one of them. In fact, Planned Parenthood Arizona has been in our state for 80 years and was actually founded by some of the state’s most staunch and legendary Republicans (anyone ever heard of the Goldwaters?).


Our party will continue to leave us, until we voice our dissent through the ballot.


As someone who studied political science, I find that the Republican philosophy is very much in line with the Planned Parenthood mission. We are a nonprofit health care provider that wants citizens to have access to services and education so they can make their own, informed decisions about their reproductive health. Put simply: the personal freedom to make decisions without interference or intrusion from the government.

So, fast-forward to today. If you are like me, you may be feeling a bit left out when you see the long list of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona’s endorsed candidates. You might be thinking, where are the endorsed Republicans? And, what am I supposed to do with my primary ballot? Continue reading

A Conversation With Faye Wattleton: Part 2, Belief and Mission

Ms. Wattleton speaks out against George H.W. Bush’s gag rule, which banned any mention of abortion in federally funded family-planning programs.

Faye Wattleton was president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America from 1978 to 1992. She was generous enough to speak to me on January 7, 2013, and throughout the month of February we’ll be sharing her experiences and perspectives in observance of Black History Month. In this second installment, we discuss her religious beliefs and their influence on her work, which came up often in our conversation.

Religion was a strong influence during Faye Wattleton’s childhood and remains so in her adult life. She grew up in a fundamentalist family, and that religion, along with her experiences as a nurse, brought her to a belief in individual freedom that was absolute, including the conviction that every woman has the right to make her own reproductive choices.

When I asked about her work for reproductive rights, she said, “My view about that is perhaps most reflective of my religious upbringing, with respect to who shall judge. Judge not that you be not judged.”


“Our reproduction is still a proxy for the larger question of our full status as human beings and as citizens.”


That religious upbringing was shaped by the fact that her mother was an ordained minister in the Church of God, and her calling determined the course of Wattleton family life. While Faye was still little, this calling took her and her parents away from St. Louis and the safety of extended family. When she reached school age, her parents left her with families within the church, each year in a different place. During this time, she learned to rely on herself and think independently, perhaps preparing her to be a leader while keeping her within the protective bubble of the greater Church of God community.

The Church of God is Christian, Protestant, foundational, evangelical, and charismatic. Members believe in prayer, the inerrancy and literal truth of the Bible, personal salvation, and the unique, individual revelation of the Holy Spirit.* Ms. Wattleton often heard her mother preach and witnessed the emotional responses of her listeners in churches and revival meetings.

While her mother evangelized, bringing others to what she saw as the only way to God, Ms. Wattleton’s sense of mission came from the conviction that each person acts within unique life circumstances that must be respected. When I asked about this difference between her mother and herself, she replied that it “probably was due to my early training as a nurse. I went to college as a 16-year-old, graduated at 20. And so I was really deeply influenced by my professional training and exposure [to other people’s lives and problems]. It’s possible that, had I chosen a different profession, I may have seen life differently, but this is the profession that I chose.” Continue reading