STATE COLLEGE — Kate Michelman wants women to know what’s at stake this coming election and beyond.
Michelman, co-director of WomenVote PA, told a crowd gathered Sunday at Webster’s Bookstore Cafe downtown that women’s rights are under attack both nationally and in Pennsylvania.
“We need to make sure women don’t think as they hear about it that it’s some abstract idea,” Michelman said. “It’s not abstract. It’s real on every level, whether it’s equal pay for equal work, access to health care, reproductive rights or privacy rights.”
Michelman, co-director of WomenVote PA, joined documentary filmmaker Dorothy Fadiman on Sunday to bring that message to State College voters.
Both women shared their personal struggles with having abortions in the 1960s — when the procedure was illegal. For Fadiman it meant a dangerous and life-threatening “back-alley” procedure.
“I find it unbelievable that I’m standing here talking to you about the threat to women’s reproductive rights, when 40 some years ago, I went through what was for me a devastating experience,” Michelman said.
Her experiences as a single mother after her husband abruptly left her and their three daughters in the 1960s drove Michelman to fight for women’s rights. It’s a pursuit that’s lasted decades.
Michelman said the WomenVote PA group is designed to reach out to women and inform them of the “importance of their votes as a means to protecting their rights, as a means to ensuring their heath, as a means to equal opportunities as partners with men in this society.”
And she said that work won’t stop with the upcoming presidential election, no matter who prevails.
“It doesn’t rest with one party,” Michelman said. “It’s our responsibility as women to know who our electors are, and know an election is a means to an end, not an end themselves.”
Michelman said she will continue traveling the state, “hoping to inspire each that hears us to go out and talk about WomenVote PA.”
Matt Carroll can be reached at 231-4631. Follow him on Twitter @Carrollreporter