Faye Wattleton


American Social Activist, First African-American and youngest President ever elected to Planned Parenthood

Author Quotes

One of the sad commentaries on the way women are viewed in our society is that we have to fit one category. I have never felt that I had to be in one category.

Our strength lies in the fact that we are supported by the majority of Americans. And our motivation lies in our obligation to make sure their voices are heard and acknowledged by those who set public policy in this country.

The future and strength of the race is for women to be able to have kids when they want them and to love and provide them with the tools they'll need to get through a hostile world. The image of the black woman bearing child upon child against her will is the real threat to the race.

This is not a debate about abortion. This is about a fundamental right to make choices about our sexuality -- without the encroachment of a president, the Supreme Court, and certainly without the encroachment of politicians!

Whoever is providing leadership needs to be as fresh and thoughtful and reflective as possible to make the very best fight.

Choosing a career in nursing was perhaps my most important professional decision. Had I not had direct experiences with patients and gained an understanding of what goes on in women's lives, I would not have had the determination and commitment to non-compromise on the gains that women have made with respect to reproductive choice.

I think it's unfortunate and really reflects the mean-spirited nature of the anti-abortion movement that it is willing to sacrifice poor women in this debate as a means of making gains. Abortion is legal in this country and is not something that should be denied women, but anti-abortion advocates suggest that if they can't deny it to every woman, they will at least deny it to low-income women.

I think we have deluded ourselves into believing that people don't know that abortion is killing. So any pretense that abortion is not killing is a signal of our ambivalence, a signal that we cannot say yes, it kills a fetus.

I was raised by my parents to believe that it was my obligation to help those with less than I had. Although we were materially poor, the value of my family life was that there was a sense of achievement. We were taught to believe that it was possible to succeed, and that if you didn't, you didn't quit.

In a health-care situation, you see humanity at its most basic, and you realize there are no simple yes-or-no, right-or-wrong answers.

What can your kids teach you?' Well, I believe something different about kids. We don't own them, they have their own knowledge. From the start you have to make the choice to listen.

The influence of one's parents is powerful and permanent.

We're basically an illiterate society sexually. We're not well educated. We're not much better educated than our parents, and even though sex is merchandised and exploited, there is very little sexuality education available in American schools. It is almost as though we had to repay our guilt for exploiting sex so explicitly in our society by preserving a shroud of ignorance.

Reproductive freedom is critical to a whole range of issues. If we can't take charge of this most personal aspect of our lives, we can't take care of anything. It should not be seen as a privilege or as a benefit, but a fundamental human right.

My satisfaction comes from my commitment to advancing a better world.

The only safe ship in a storm is leadership.

Social change rarely comes through the efforts of the disenfranchised. The middle class creates social revolutions.

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American Social Activist, First African-American and youngest President ever elected to Planned Parenthood