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Reproductive Rights Coalition Formed

September 25, 1996|CATHY WERBLIN

A new group known as the Orange County Coalition for Reproductive Rights announced its formation Tuesday and said its agenda is to advocate accessible sex education, contraception and abortion information.

Organizers said the group is a partnership of Planned Parenthood, the National Organization for Women, National Women's Political Caucus, American Civil Liberties Union, Women For: Orange County, Pro Choice Orange County and the League of Women Voters.

The coalition, representing groups whose membership in Orange County totals more than 30,000, was formed to bring balance to women's reproductive issues, said Ann Marie Wallace, a volunteer with the group and Planned Parenthood's public relations manager.

"There is a vocal minority in Orange County that has been active on these issues," Wallace said. "We are already 30,000 strong because Americans support the ability of individuals to make personal decisions without government interference."

The new group, which plans to lobby local, state and federal legislators, came together in the spring to support the right to reproductive choices.

A case pending in the California Supreme Court would require teens to receive parental or judicial permission for abortions. The case was one reason for the group's formation, Wallace said.

"The organizations are frustrated with the vocal minority and decided to come together and do some positive outreach," she said.

The coalition's first activity will be a countywide lobby day in October. Members plan to meet with state and federal legislators in an effort to share their views about sex education, contraception and abortion.

Wallace said recent polls indicate that nine out of 10 Americans support access to family planning, and eight out of 10 support responsible sex education in the schools.

The Rev. Steve Mather, pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Anaheim and a former president of Planned Parenthood, said a number of local groups with similar concerns "saw a strategic value in pulling them all together and coordinating them."

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