Washington Citizens for Abortion Reform Records, 1963-1970  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Creator
Washington Citizens for Abortion Reform
Title
Washington Citizens for Abortion Reform Records
Dates
1963-1970 (inclusive)
Quantity
1.42 cubic ft. (4 boxes)
Collection Number
(Accession No. 1865-001)
Summary
Records of a citizen political action group documenting the efforts of the organization to liberalize the state's abortion laws
Repository
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections
University of Washington Libraries
Box 352900
Seattle, WA
98195-2900
Telephone: 206-543-1929
Fax: 206-543-1931
speccoll@uw.edu
Access Restrictions

The collection is open to all users.

Languages
English
Sponsor
Funding for encoding this finding aid was partially provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Historical NoteReturn to Top

At the invitation of Samuel Goldenberg, a dozen persons -- including physicians, Catholic and Protestant clergymen, an attorney, a social worker, and a housewife -- met in early 1967 to discuss the problem of illegal abortions in Washington State. Goldenberg, a Seattle-area clinical psychologist, was troubled by the situation of two patients facing unwanted pregnancies who were denied legal abortions. Washington law allowed "therapeutic" abortions only after a committee of physicians determined that one was necessary to save the life of the mother. Goldenberg's group, which expanded beyond its initial dozen members and adopted the name Citizens' Abortion Discussion Group, explored the possibilities for reforming Washington's abortion law. It continued its study of the issue for two years and drafted a proposed amendment to the state's abortion statute. The group's bill was introduced by Democratic representative William Chatalas and Republican senator Joel Pritchard during the 1969 legislative session. Despite the endorsement of the Washington State Medical Association and the recommendation of the Attorney General's Citizens' Committee on Crime that abortion laws be liberalized, the legislation died in both houses.

Following its legislative defeat, the group incorporated as Washington Citizens for Abortion Reform (WCAR) with Goldenberg as its president and explored a possible court challenge to the abortion statute. During a special legislative session in 1970, Pritchard introduced another WCAR-supported bill. An amended version, which permitted abortions performed by a licensed physician within the first four months of pregnancy with the consent of the woman's husband, if married and living together, or legal guardian, if under the age of 18, was approved and sent to the voters as Referendum 20. WCAR established branches across the state and campaigned vigorously for its passage. The measure was approved by voters in November 1970, making Washington the first state in which abortion was legalized by popular vote.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The Washington Citizens for Abortion Reform Records document the efforts of the organization to liberalize the state's abortion laws. The records primarily cover the 1970 campaign to win passage of Referendum 20 but also include materials on the organization's earlier legislative efforts. WCAR's development of a statewide campaign network is documented in the correspondence files. The Incoming Letters and General Correspondence files are arranged largely alphabetically, while the Outgoing Letters and Interoffice Correspondence files are largely chronological in order. Much of the correspondence deals with logistical and administrative matters. There are several letters regarding the visit of Vincent H. Yano, a Roman Catholic legislator from Hawaii who supported liberalization of abortion laws. WCAR's strategic planning is outlined in the Minutes. The Speakers' Packet and News Releases present WCAR's arguments to the voters. The Clippings date primarily from the fall of 1970.

Several Subject Series also include significant amounts of correspondence. The Case Histories subject file contains letters from physicians and individual women concerning their personal experiences with illegal abortion. The Playboy Forum subject file includes letters received in response to an open letter on abortion reform in Playboy magazine by WCAR's Publicity Chairman, Rev. Peter S. Raible.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Literary rights were not transferred to the University of Washington Libraries.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

 

Incoming Correspondence, 1970Return to Top

Container(s): Box-folder 1/1

Outgoing Letters, 1969-1970Return to Top

Container(s): Box-folder 1/2

General Correspondence, 1969-1970Return to Top

Container(s): Box-folder 1/3

Interoffice Correspondence, 1970Return to Top

Container(s): Box-folder 1/4

Minutes of Executive Committee Meetings, 1969-1970Return to Top

Container(s): Box-folder 1/5

Financial Records, 1969-1970Return to Top

Container(s): Box-folder 1/6-7

News Releases, 1969-1970Return to Top

Container(s): Box-folder 1/8

Legal Documents - Certification of Enrolled Enactment, SB68, 1970Return to Top

Container(s): Box-folder 1/9

Notes, 1970, n.d.Return to Top

Container(s): Box-folder 1/10

Directories, 1969-1970, n.d.Return to Top

Container(s): Box-folder 1/11

Mailing Lists, n.d.Return to Top

Container(s): Box-folder 1/12

Newsletters of Others, 1969-1970Return to Top

Container(s): Box-folder 1/13

Petitions, 1970, n.d.Return to Top

Container(s): Box-folder 1/14

Photograph of Vincent H. Yano, n.d.Return to Top

Container(s): Box-folder 1/15

Speakers' Packet, 1970Return to Top

Container(s): Box-folder 1/16

Ephemera, 1970, n.d.Return to Top

Container(s): Box-folder 2/1

Clippings, 1970Return to Top

Container(s): Box-folder 4/1-5

Subject SeriesReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Abortion Reform Legislation Outside Washington
Box/Folder
2/2
Incoming Letters
1969
2/3
Reports
n.d.
2/4
Legislative Bills
1966-1969
Box/Folder
2/6
Case Histories
1969
Catholics for Individual Responsibility
Box/Folder
2/7
Incoming Letters
1970, n.d.
2/8
Outgoing Letters
1970
2/9
News Releases
1970
2/10
Ephemera
1968-1970, n.d.
Church - Materials Requests
Box/Folder
2/11
Incoming Letters
1969-1970
2/12
Reports
1963, 1969
2/13
Notes
n.d.
Doorbelling Volunteers
Box/Folder
2/14
Incoming Letters
1970
2/15
Lists
1970
Endorsements by Major Organizations
Box/Folder
2/16
Incoming Letters
1968-1970
2/17
Outgoing Letters
1969-1970
2/18
General Correspondence
1969-1970
2/19
News Releases
1968-1970
2/20
Resolutions
1968-1970
2/21
Lists
1969, n.d.
Box/Folder
3/1
Hate Mail
1970
Legislation/Legislators
Box/Folder
3/2
General Correspondence
1970
3/3
Reports, Testimony and Bills
1968-1970
Box/Folder
3/4
"March on Olympia" Permit Request
1969
Opposition
Box/Folder
3/5
Reports
1970
3/6
Ephemera
1970
Box/Folder
3/7
Playboy Forum
1970
3/8
Polls
1969, n.d.

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Abortion--Government policy--Citizen participation
  • Abortion--Law and legislation--Washington (State)
  • Abortion--Washington (State)
  • Personal Names :
  • Bonds, Helen K
  • Goldenberg, Samuel, 1921-
  • Pritchard, Joel M. (Joel McFee), 1925-
  • Yano, Vincent H
  • Corporate Names :
  • Citizens' Abortion Discussion Group (Wash.)
  • Washington Citizens for Abortion Reform--Archives
  • Washington State Council of Churches
  • Geographical Names :
  • Washington (State)--Politics and government--20th century

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Personal Papers/Corporate Records (University of Washington)