Why I am Pro-Choice: Katherine WaddellPosted: October 15, 2013
Recently our friends over at Catholics for Choice featured RMC National Board member and founder of the Virginia group Women’s Strike Force, Katherine Waddell, as part of their new project, Why I am Pro-Choice. We are thrilled to share Katherine’s story with you now, as another example of how the fundamental conservative values of personal liberty and small government exemplify the pro-choice position:
|“I have been a Republican all my life. I am a prochoice Republican because I believe in the basic Republican principles of limited government, low taxes, the right to bear arms, a strong national defense, personal responsibility, individual freedom and the right to privacy.My family stressed the importance of being a good citizen and of being an active participant in the democratic process. For us, that meant getting involved in the Republican Party of Virginia by handing out information at the polls, working in campaigns, going door to door with candidates, as well as working at the Virginia General Assembly. Eventually, I moved beyond these activities to staff positions on campaigns. The more involved I became, the more I began to realize that something was not right. I knew we were the party of limited government and the right to privacy, but found that those principles were not applied to women’s reproductive rights. How was it possible to be a Republican and at the same time support expanding the long arm of government into women’s personal lives?
A reporter once asked me, “Why do these women and men who feel so strong about being prochoice remain in a party dominated by prolife supporters?” Easy. To be Republican and prochoice is to be consistent. The Republican Party has historically been a party of limited government. In fact, the traditional Republican philosophy argues for less government interference in all aspects of Americans lives, based on the theory that individuals make better decisions than governments do.
I began to stand up on behalf of all limited-government, prochoice Republicans. I worked within the party, serving on State Central, the governing body of the Republican Party of Virginia, staffing major state campaigns and, eventually, working for Republicans in the offices of the attorney general and the lieutenant governor. Finally realizing that I could not make a difference working within the existing party structure, I left the lieutenant governor’s office and formed a Virginia chapter of the Republican Majority for Choice and found that there are many limited-government, prochoice Republicans in Virginia.
In 2005, I ran for the Virginia House of Delegates as an Independent and defeated a right-wing antichoice Republican incumbent. Even though I had always worked within the Republican Party, I could not run as a Republican because the nominating process was rigged in favor of the incumbent, and no one wants to get involved in a fight they cannot win. The Republican Party went after me with a vengeance, making me their number-one target and defeating me the next election. Redistricting, along with the closed Republican candidate selection process (convention or mass meeting) that favors right wing candidates keep good people from running. The motto of the Republican Party of Virginia is, “Keep it small, keep it all.” It is all about power and control.
I used to say, “I am passionately Republican and I am passionately prochoice.” As a woman, a mother of two daughters and a grandmother of two granddaughters, it is difficult today to be passionately Republican, but I am still passionately prochoice.
In my heart I am still a Republican, and I would love to have a prochoice real Republican running for statewide office in Virginia, but that is not happening anytime soon. I yearn for the day! “
To read more personal accounts or to share your own story, head on over and check out the full project here.