Major Donor Profile:
Diane M. Smith, Arlington, Va.
“My parents never talked about sex, abortion, or choices, but they did raise me to believe that a woman could do anything she chose to do. They raised me to believe that a woman’s decisions were her own and were not to be dictated by anyone else.
When I was in college, two of my close friends got pregnant, and there were no legal alternatives for them. One decided to get married. It was a disaster for her, her husband, and the baby. The marriage lasted about a year. She dropped out of school and her parents raised the child. Nothing was ever the same. She truly believed that she had no choice.
My other friend was referred to a back-street “doctor” and suffered terribly. She developed an infection, nearly died, and because she was a minor and the law required that her parents be notified, they disowned her. She dropped out of school and, after several years, all the people that were close to her lost touch. I have wondered for 50 years how her life turned out. I know that the absence of any choice dictated her life in a way that was unfair and heartless.
My belief that everyone should have the right to decide their own destiny has grown stronger and stronger, sometimes fueled by anger and resentment, but more so by the hope that generations that follow me will not have to continue to fight the same battles I have. The thought that my strong, bright, talented, and beautiful granddaughter will ever be told that she must do something because she has no choice sometimes brings me to my knees.
Since 2006, I have supported NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia because they won’t stop fighting. It is composed of incredible women and supportive men who know that the fight for reproductive freedom will never be over until we no longer need organizations like NARAL Virginia to fight for us.
When thinking about philanthropy, I have always believed that you prioritize based on what truly matters. I give more to NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia than any other organization because their work matters in a way that speaks to me emotionally, intellectually, and pragmatically. I do not want to go back to a time when a woman cannot not make fundamental decisions about what is best for her life and her family. But with the courts now staked against us, we must do all we can to ensure that states like Virginia elect pro-choice legislators and enact policies that truly make reproductive freedom a reality for each and every one of us and we must act fast. I know you share my values, and I hope you share my commitment and will join me in supporting this respected and essential organization and its crucial work today.”