|Birth Day:||July 8, 1943|
|Birth Place:||St. Louis, United States|
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She attended Ohio State University, where she studied nursing.
Wattleton was born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1943, the only child of a construction worker father and a mother who was a seamstress and a Church of God minister. During her childhood, her mother's calling meant that the family traveled frequently, and Wattleton saw the emotional effect her mother's preaching had on congregation. For eight years Wattleton stayed with family members and friends while her parents traveled for work. Although her mother never approved of her work in reproductive rights, Wattleton considers the principle of nonjudgment espoused by the faith of her upbringing to have had a deep impact on her future work in family planning.
Faye Wattleton attended Ohio State University at the age of 16. She was awarded a bachelor's degree in nursing in 1964, and went on to teach at a nursing school in Dayton, Ohio for two years. While in nursing school, Wattleton worked at the Children's Hospital in Columbus. There she cared for children who were abused, neglected, and sick with diseases.
Choosing where to go to get her master's degree was hard for Wattleton. She was accepted to both the Catholic University and Columbia University. Wattleton would chose to attend Columbia University in New York. Due to her fascination with children born with drug addictions inherited from their using mothers, Wattleton did her master's thesis on phototoelectrophoresis. Phototoelectrophoresis is a medical term referring to the test used to screen pregnant mothers for drug use so that a baby can be treated for withdrawal immediately. Wattleton graduated with her Master's of Science degree in maternal and infant care, with certification as a nurse-midwife, from Columbia University in 1967. Wattleton went to Columbia on a full scholarship.
In 1967, Faye Wattleton became the assistant director of Public Health Nursing Services in Dayton, Ohio. In Dayton, she "began her career as an effective coalition builder for reproductive rights." The same year, she also joined the board of the local Planned Parenthood and shortly after in 1970, Wattleton became the president of the Planned Parenthood of Dayton. Her success in uniting white, middle and upper-class and women in poverty was proof that Wattleton had a skill for united individuals. During the late 1960s and early 1970s the United States was experiencing a heightened political climate resulting in racial and anti-war protests. The killing of Malcolm X, MLK and RFK added fuel to the fire. Also on the political agenda was the legal status of abortion. Wattleton accomplished a major victory for Dayton when she began an initiative providing teenagers with contraceptives without their parent's consent. In 1978, Faye Wattleton was appointed President of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. This made her the first African American woman President of the Planned Parenthood ever appointed by the board.
In 1970 Faye Wattleton's Parents moved to Texas where her mother preached at a small congregation outside of Houston. Wattleton was experience immense change in her occupational path as director of Planned Parenthood, Miami Valley when her father got lung cancer. By the time that she found out, he only had six months to live. He died that same year.
Faye Wattleton met her husband, Franklin Gordon in 1972. He was a jazz musician whom she had met at a conference sponsored by the Junior League. After the conference they parted separate ways, but Franklin still wrote Faye poems and sent them in the mail. Knowing that she was turning 29 years old and wanting to have children, Wattleton decided to marry Gordon at the end of August in 1972. By January 1975, she found out that she was pregnant. She stayed busy during her pregnancy by running for President of the National Executive Directors Council (NEDC) of Planned Parenthood's midwestern regional affiliates. When it came time for her to give birth she put everything to the side for a few days. On 20 October 1975 Wattleton gave birth to her daughter, Felicia Megan Gordon.
Faye Wattleton worked for reproductive rights at a time in America where the political tension surrounding the issue was mounting. From the time she went to school in Dayton to her resignation as Planned Parenthood Federation of America's President, Wattleton for the rights of women. In January 1973, the Court issued Roe v. Wade ruling that women had the right under the constitution to terminate their pregnancies. This was momentous and allowed for the creation of clinics where abortions could take place to rise in communities around the country. On the same day that the Court ruled Roe v. Wade, the Court also decided Doe v. Bolton, which found that a doctor can consider the physical, emotional, psychological and familial aspects of a person before deciding if they need an abortion. Three years later, the Supreme Court rejected a lower court ruling that a woman needed their husband's consent for an abortion in Planned Parenthood v. Danforth. In 1980, Harris v. McRae upheld the Hyde Amendment, ruling patients receiving Medicaid could only get an abortion if the pregnancy endangered their life or the life of their child. There weren't many cases fought on the U.S. Supreme Court level in the 1980s until the Webster v. Reproductive Health Services in 1989. In this decision, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a Missouri ban on abortions after 24 gestational weeks. In 1990, the Court ruled that minors must notify both parents before seeking an abortion unless they sought a "judicial bypass". And Planned Parenthood v. Casey 1992, the Supreme Court ruled that states can make laws concerning certain requirements to get an abortion including waiting periods and counseling, as long as it does not enact an undue burden on the mother to receive an abortion. Wattleton never waived in her advocacy for women's reproductive health during this time.
In 1986, the American Humanist Association named her Humanist of the Year. She also was the author of an article, "How to Talk to Your Children About Reproductive Rights" for Planned Parenthood, on the topic of reproductive rights in 1986. In 1990, Wattleton, along with 15 other African American men and women, formed African American Women for Reproductive Freedom.
In 1990 Wattleton was watching Murray Schwartz on Nightline and realized that maybe her calling was television. She had ideas that she wanted to share with the world, and Planned Parenthood was draining all of her energy. So, Wattleton met with Murray a few weeks later to talk about her hosting a talk-show. The point of the talk show would be for her to reach an audience that she could discuss more aspects of men's and women's lives than just reproductive rights. The show was pitched to ABC, Buena Vista (Disney), and Tribune Entertainment. All offers were dropped before a plan of production started. Wattleton stayed in contact with Schwartz and Tribune Entertainment. By the end of the summer, Wattleton and Schwartz were able to make an agreement with Tribune Entertainment for her to have a show where she prompted intellectual debates on controversial topics. Controversy over the show stirred as television production companies tried to manage backlash from Wattleton's past in reproductive rights advocacy. There were times the broadcasting station would have to change where the show was being filmed due to disagreements on political opinions. The topics of the shows produced ranged from women in the 1990s to women of the church. When word got out that Wattleton was producing this show in Chicago, her audiences got bigger. However, the show never became a hit because of a religious uproar about Wattleton's background and the project was cancelled in 1992.
During her presidency at the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, from 1978 to 1992, Wattleton transformed the organization into the politically engaged entity that it is today, while at the same time dramatically increasing the range of its health-care services. She did not know the power that she had at Planned Parenthood until she realized that the organization was started by one woman's undying wish to free women from the limitations that childbearing holds on mothers. When she first started Planned Parenthood as the director, her first task was to create the budget. Never having done anything on this scope before, she led with confidence and worked to produce a budget. This led to many other successes. Wattleton also led Planned Parenthood's growth as a health-care provider. By the time she left the organization, it had more than 170 affiliates in 49 states and Washington, D.C., and operated more than 800 health centers. Faye Wattleton had two major goals upon becoming president: (1) reproductive health, and, (2) gender equality. Wattleton wished to expand the focus of Planned Parenthood to emphasize abortion rights. Anticipating that the 1980s would bring many political challenges, Wattleton restructured the organization so that it could respond to the new environment created by the election of Ronald Reagan and the rise of the Religious Right. It is said that Wattleton spearheaded advocacy for the pro-choice movement. She shaped the national and worldwide debate on reproductive rights. Even though the 1980s were a time of reproductive change, many people did not support Wattleton's stance. Planned Parenthood clinics across the country experienced shootings, bombings, fires, and employees were killed or injured. As Wattleton's time at Planned Parenthood progressed, there was a major decision by the Supreme Court, Webster v Reproductive Health in which the court held that states do not have to fund legal abortions. At the same time, Wattleton was disappointed that about half of Planned Parenthood affiliates did not offer abortions. This all led to her resignation as President in February 1991.
In 1992, Wattleton received the S. Roger Horchow Award for Greatest Public Service by a Private Citizen, an award given out annually by Jefferson Awards.
The ending of her time at Planned Parenthood did not end her career. Faye Wattleton enjoyed a tremendous reputation in the political realm, which made it difficult for her to find a job. Many companies found her stance on abortion to be too controversial. Wattleton tried getting jobs in new business fields. From 1992 to 1995, she hosted a Chicago-based talk show on television. After the show ended, Wattleton continued to think about how she could reach future generations to teach them about women's reproductive health and equality. She began to give lectures across the country as a way to keep her message alive. In 1995 Faye Wattleton created a non-profit think tank called Center for the Advancement of Women. The purpose of this Center was to "promote strategies for dismantling the obstacles that impede full equality for women". The goal for the Center of Gender Equality was to start a national conversation about the economic, political and educational aspects of women's everyday lives and highlight ways of improvement for those issues. In 2017, Wattleton Co-Founded EeroQ Quantum Computing with Nick Farina and Michigan State Professor Johannes Pollanen.
She was a 1993 inductee into the National Women's Hall of Fame. In 1996, she published her autobiography, Life on the Line. Wattleton wanted to show people why she became an advocate for reproductive health and the stories behind her reasoning. This book highlights those anecdotal moments that were monumental to her career.
Also in 1996, she received the Margaret Sanger Woman of Valor Award
In 2004, Wattleton won the Fries Prize for Improving Health.In 2010, she became a managing director of Alvarez & Marshal, an international consulting firm.
Currently, Faye Wattleton is 79 years, 1 months and 2 days old. Faye Wattleton will celebrate 80th birthday on a Saturday 8th of July 2023.
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