- Pro-abortion activist
- Served as president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America from 1996 to 2005
- Has condemned "the Bush administration's war on choice"
- Was a chief organizer of the "March for Women's Lives," an April 2004 pro-abortion rally held in Washington, D.C.
Gloria Feldt was the president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), the largest abortion-provider in the United States, from 1996 to January 2005. It has been reported that during Feldt's first year as president, PPFA's abortion business took in an estimated $49.8 million, which accounted for 27.6 percent of the organization's income. By 2004, these figures had risen dramatically. That year, PPFA earned an estimated $104 million from performing abortions - a sum that accounted for more than one-third of its $302.6 million clinic income. Under Feldt's leadership, PPFA aborted more than 1.37 million babies in its own facilities. It has been reported that PPFA now performs almost a quarter of a million abortions each year, accounting for nearly one out of every five abortions performed in the U.S.
During her eight-year tenure as PPFA president, Feldt was instrumental in bringing her pro-abortion message to the teenage demographic. Toward this end, in 1999 PPFA launched Teenwire.com, a website about which Feldt has said, "Teenwire.com has provided medically accurate and honest sexual health information in language teens can understand. And you know what? Teens want and need this kind of information; more than five million of them visited the site [in 2003], and Teenwire.com receives about 500 questions a week from teens about issues that concern and affect them." The website uses colorful cartoon characters and slang to appeal to a younger demographic, and dispenses advice on topics ranging from homosexuality to masturbation.
A good deal of the information on Teenwire.com also deals with abortion. In the website's discussion of what it means to be pro-choice and pro-life, it states, "People who are pro-choice believe that women have the right to decide when and whether to have children. . . . People who are anti-choice oppose abortion and often call themselves pro-life. Many people who are anti-choice do not believe that women should be able to choose abortion under any circumstances, even if she has been raped or if carrying the pregnancy to term may put her life in danger."
Through Teenwire, PPFA attempts to diminish the gravity of abortions by trivializing both the physical and emotional dangers involved. PPFA tells teenage girls that "abortion is a very safe procedure. It's about twice as safe as a shot of penicillin, and is 11 times safer than giving birth." PPFA also states that "abortion poses little danger to a woman's emotional and mental health. . . . Severe emotional and psychological reactions to abortion are rare." There is much evidence to the contrary, however. One study, for instance, polled women who had undergone abortions and found that 61.3 percent of them "strongly agreed" with the statement: "After my abortion, I experienced feelings of guilt," 57 percent "strongly agreed" that they experienced feelings of self-condemnation, and just 1.3 percent "strongly disagreed" with both of these statements. Fully 94 percent of the women polled in the study answered "yes" to the question: "Have you ever regretted having had the abortion?"
Feldt has implored readers of her blog to "send the [Teenwire.com] link to every teen you know as well as every parent who is struggling to make sure their kids get honest, medically accurate sex education. Urge them to pass it on also."
During her tenure at PPFA, 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") "Mifepristone" said Feldt, ". . . is as significant a technological advance for women's health as the birth-control pill was 40 years ago. It will enable them, if they choose to terminate a pregnancy, to do that earlier [and] to do it without surgery. For many women, that is a very positive thing." Despite her portrayal of RU-486 as a safe alternative to surgical abortions, The New York Times reports that the FDA has received hundreds of reports of problems with Mifepristone, including serious infections, ectopic pregnancies, cases of blood loss that required transfusions, and even three deaths.
Though Feldt said in a 2000 interview that it is PPFA's "organizational policy" not to endorse a presidential candidate, in 2004 the group for the first time did precisely that, endorsing John Kerry. Feldt explained that the decision to back Kerry was made in response to "the Bush administration's war on choice." Following Kerry's loss, Feldt criticized him for his ineffectuality in addressing his pro-abortion stance. "I have great respect for John Kerry," said Feldt, "but there's no question he did not articulate these issues well. He seemed equivocal. He ceded the moral high ground to the other side."
Feldt is the author of the book The War on Choice: The Right-Wing Attack on Women's Rights and How to Fight Back. In this screed, Feldt likens Bush Administration judicial nominees to the Taliban. She writes, "If only that kind of [anti-abortion] thinking were merely stupid. 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."
Among PPFA's highest priorities is to preserve the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision, which made abortion legal; the organization enacted its SaveRoe.com campaign and website for this express purpose. "Roe is the key to a whole set of freedoms around sexual health, gender equality, nurtured children, welcome childbearing," says Feldt. "A new value has been placed on children because of choice — a truly radical 20th century notion by the way, for which Planned Parenthood can be justifiably proud."
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 abortions at any stage of pregnancy. Said Feldt, "if [anti-abortion advocates] really wanted to prevent abortions, their time would be better spent working with us to provide family planning and education than by carrying picket signs."
Prior to her presidency at PPFA, Feldt served as chief executive of both Planned Parenthood of Central and Northern Arizona and Permian Basin Planned Parenthood (later named Planned Parenthood of West Texas); in those two postions, she spent a combined total of 22 years.
For her efforts to make abortions more accessible to women in the United States, Feldt was named 2003 Woman of the Year by Glamour magazine; she was also named one of the top 200 Women Legends, Leaders, and Trailblazers by Vanity Fair magazine.