PLI President Gloria Totten in the New York Times

Posted on December 1, 2021

…Having lost at the Supreme Court, anti-abortion organizations set out to restrict abortion in cities and states. By the late 1970s, the leading anti-abortion group at the time, the National Right to Life Committee had a staggering 3,000 local chapters.NARAL, meanwhile, devoted so few resources to its state affiliates that by the 1990s its national field department quit in protest, according to Gloria Totten, NARAL’s political director from 1996 to 2001.

As state groups left the organization or were pushed out, the number of affiliates shrank to 11. This summer, NARAL announced it was getting rid of its affiliates altogether, shifting to a chapter model that will give the national organization more control.

To Ms. Totten, the move is baffling. “The entire strategy right now should be on winning state elections so that we can pass proactive abortion-rights legislation,” said Ms. Totten, who has focused much of her career on building progressive power in the states. “That’s the path forward: Go big or keep getting trampled.”

[This column also quotes former PLI Reproductive Rights director Aimee Arrambide.]

2020…was the election when it became clear to Aimee Arrambide just how outgunned she was in Texas. Her reproductive-rights group, Avow, used to be an affiliate of NARAL but broke away in January to pursue its own “bold and unapologetic” agenda. Like the rest of NARAL’s affiliates, the group had always had to raise its own budget, outside of the occasional joint fund-raiser or grant that state groups could compete against one another for.

Last year, Ms. Arrambide’s political action committee spent $6,000 on digital ads in two districts to support pro-choice candidates in races for the Texas legislature. Meanwhile, the political action committee Pro-Life America spent well over $100,000 on mailings, text messages, phone calls and digital ads in the same two districts. One of those races ended up being decided in favor of the Republican incumbent by just over 200 votes. “That’s basically what we’re up against in most of the state and local work that we do,” Ms. Arrambide said.




The Lily features the Playbook for Abortion Rights

Posted on October 21, 2021

The Lily, published by The Washington Post, ran a story headlined “Lawmakers are racing to mimic the Texas abortion law in their own states” which includes PLI’s Playbook for Abortion Rights. That section of...


New York enacts a PLI model

Posted on October 13, 2021

New York Governor Kathy Hochul recently signed legislation (S.343-A/A.3412-A) classifying certain threats to report a person’s immigration status as extortion or coercion under New York law. As acknowledged in the Governor’s statement about the...


Network Director Dave Woodward featured in Politico

Posted on June 21, 2021

“The Man Who Remade Oakland” (Part II) In 1998, when Dave Woodward was elected to the state House at age 22, one of the things that immediately separated him from other young win-it-now political...


Gloria Totten on The Great Battlefield podcast

Posted on March 16, 2020

Developing Progressive Leaders with Gloria Totten of Public Leadership Institute The Great Battlefield podcast interviews Gloria to talk about her career in politics from Political Director at NARAL to founding Public Leadership Institute where...


PLI in new book, “All Politics Is Local”

Posted on November 20, 2019

A new book, All Politics Is Local: Why Progressives Must Fight for the States, discusses the challenges and opportunities for progressives in state legislatures across the nation. It’s a great book and the Public Leadership...


USA Today features our Playbook for Abortion Rights

Posted on June 20, 2019

Progressives Borrow Strategy… In the raging legislative battle over women’s reproductive rights, progressive groups have turned to a tactic that for years has helped spread anti-abortion measures – model legislation… In many ways, the...


Anti-abortion website features PLI

Posted on March 21, 2019

The anti-abortion “news” website LibertyNation published a column attacking legislation in Maine that would allow duly-qualified advanced practice clinicians (APCs) to perform certain abortions, as allowed in other states. The column continues as follows:...


PLI legislation in Handbook for a Post-Roe America

Posted on February 6, 2019

Handbook for a Post-Roe America by Robin Marty (2019, Seven Stories Press) Page 44 In 2016, the Public Leadership Institute released a number of proactive model reproductive rights and health bills for state use,...


Will progressives prioritize election reform, asks Rewire

Posted on January 9, 2019

Congressional Democrats Came out Swinging on Voting Rights. Will State-Level Democrats Follow? It was no coincidence: Republicans, after dominating state legislative and gubernatorial races in the 2010 midterms, made sure to immediately pass a range...