This Washington

NARAL Director Out After Less than a Year

After just nine months, the latest in a string of NARAL Pro-Choice Washington leaders is out.

By Erica C. Barnett January 10, 2013


NARAL Pro-Choice Washington is looking for a new executive director after the departure of Jennifer Brown, whose tenure as head of the pro-choice group lasted just nine months. The job posting is already up on NARAL’s web site

In a statement, Brown—who did not immediately return a message seeking comment about the circumstances of her departure—attributed the move to “changing family circumstances.”          

“I am especially proud of our pro-choice electoral victories in 2012,” Brown said. The group's top priority, the Reproductive Parity Act did not pass. However, the state legislature did preserve funding for family planning services, which were on the chopping block. 

Although the exact reason for Brown's departure is unclear, the abruptness of the decision suggests NARAL's board played a role. 

Brown, a former advocate for the rights of low-income immigrants, was NARAL’s third director in the less than four years since the departure of longtime ED Karen Cooper, a near-legendary figure in pro-choice circles who headed the organization for many years. 

Cooper was a hard act for anyone to follow, stirring controversy with high-profile events (2005’s “Screw Abstinence” party), antagonizing pro-lifers (also in 2005, NARAL distributed vases emblazoned with the group's logo one day before pro-life group showed up in Olympia to distribute flowers to legislators) and provocative statements (when the national group endorsed Obama over Hillary Clinton, Cooper called it “an unconscionable slap in the face”). 

Prior to Brown, West Seattle activist Christi Stapleton served as interim director after Lauren Simonds, who served ED from March 2009 to November 2011, stepped down.

We have a call out to current NARAL board director Shakti Hawkins.

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