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Alyce Faye Wattleton Biography

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Alyce Faye Wattleton was born on July 8, 1943 in St. Louis, Missouri. Her mother was a traveling preacher, her father a construction worker. While her mother traveled, Wattleton spent each school year in the care of church members in different states. Before high school, she had not attended the same school two years in a row. In 1959, at the age of sixteen, she earned her high school diploma from Calhoun High School in Port Lavaca, Texas. She was active in the band, the thespian club and the basketball team.

Wattleton received her B.S. degree in nursing from Ohio State University in 1964 and she went on to earn her M.S. degree in midwifery and maternal and infant health from Columbia University in 1967. Wattleton began her nursing career as an instructor at Miami-Dade Hospital in Ohio, teaching nursing obstetrics and labor and delivery. In 1970, she was named executive director of the Dayton-Miami Valley chapter of Planned Parenthood.

In 1978, Wattleton became the youngest person, and the first woman, to serve as president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA). During her fourteen-year tenure, PPFA became one of the nation's largest charitable organizations. Under her leadership, the organization secured federal funding for birth control and prenatal programs, fought against efforts to restrict legal abortions, and legalized the sale of RU-486 (a French-made birth control pill which terminates pregnancies) in the United States.

After her resignation from PPFA in 1992, Wattleton hosted a Chicago-based television talk show. In 1995, she became president of the Center for the Advancement of Women, an independent, nonpartisan non-profit research and education institution dedicated to advocating for the advancement of women.

Wattleton has received a number of awards and honors including, the American Humanist Award, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Humanitarian Award, the American Nurses Association's Women's Honor in Public Service Jefferson Award for the Greatest Public Service performed by a Private Citizen and PPFA's Margaret Sanger Award. She was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in 1993 and in 1996, she published her memoir, Life on the Line.

Wattleton was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 4, 2005.







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