I joined the volunteer force [of Planned Parenthood in Baltimore] along with some other people who became close friends. In the years from the early [nineteen] fifties when I joined and when the budget was probably somewhere in between $3-5000 a year, to when I stopped working directly for them in 1974, the budget was then over $3 million.... I was handling most of their public speaking and writing, which of course fit right in with my background [in English]. These were years when we were trying to put the organization on the map, when we were trying to make people aware of the family planning movement.
One of our big activities at that time was to try to get the Board of Welfare in the city to be willing that their social workers talk about birth control to women that asked about it. Until that time, if a woman with seven children said, 'What is it that rich women do to limit the number of children?', the social worker was not allowed to tell her, and there was no place to get this kind of help except at Planned Parenthood. We determined to change the policy and we did manage to change it by the end of the fifties or maybe 1960.
It was so unusual, that I was asked to come to New York to tell the National Federation [of Planned Parenthood] membership at their annual meeting about this major change in Baltimore. When the Board of Welfare did that, the health department was ready to set up family planning in every one of its outlets all around the State, in every county department. Planned Parenthood, as we were then, helped them to man those clinics so that the next year they could tell the State Legislature that it was an ongoing and not a new activity, and in that way it became funded by the State. So it was a very unusual step that Maryland took and showed how progressive we were. Anyway, that launched me from just the local scene into the national and then into the international scene in the family planning movement.
How to Cite This Page
For a bibliography:
Jewish Women's Archive. "Jewish Women's Archive - Women Who Dared - Laurie Schwab Zabin on PATH TO ACTIVISM." <http://jwa.org/exhibits/wwd/jsp/fullAnswer.jsp>.
For a footnote:
Jewish Women's Archive, "Jewish Women's Archive - Women Who Dared - Laurie Schwab Zabin on PATH TO ACTIVISM," <http://jwa.org/exhibits/wwd/jsp/fullAnswer.jsp>.