I love channeling Eleanor Roosevelt.
Recently the Wall Street Journal ran a letter of mine about an encounter with the great and gracious lady in 1953. It was fun recalling that event, but even more fun was hearing from my friend Milt Moskowitz who shared a story of his own:
“In 1962 I was working at what was then the largest market research firm in the country, Alfred Politz Research, founded and run by an alcoholic German, Alfred Politz, who was a serial womanizer. Knowing my politics to be on the left side of the spectrum, he frequently berated me about liberals. And one of his prime examples was Eleanor Roosevelt, who had a syndicated column, My Day. She was a typical liberal, he said, afraid to come out for abortion rights for fear of irritating the Catholic church. “You don’t know that,” I said. I then wrote a letter to Eleanor, asking if she had the time for an interview. She replied that she did and soon I found myself having tea with her in her brownstone on the East Side of Manhattan. I told her what my boss had said, and then she said that she was a fervent supporter of abortion rights for women. When I returned to work, I relayed this information to Alfred, who scoffed, saying she would never go public with this support. Well, a week later, the “My Day” column carried Eleanor’s eloquent support for abortion rights. I bought a dozen copies of that edition and dumped them on Alfred’s desk. For one of the first times in his life, he was speechless. “I was delighted that he had brought it up since it enabled me to meet a gentle lady with a very strong spine.”
Mrs. Roosevelt’s “My Day” columns were among the first things I read in the morning papers; they were never timid. I don’t remember this one — having pushed the whole issue of abortion far down into the depths of my psyche — but I’m not surprised. Would that her calm, strong voice were here to speak today.
Eleanor was pro choice. She thought along with Maraharet Singler that abortion was a good way to a limit poor white babies and black babies.
I believe this and at this time do not have the name of the film which exposes this. But
Dr Mildred Jefferson if alive would tell you more on Eleanor ‘s strong stand for abortion rights. I was very disappointed. Life is precious who is to say if you’re poor she do not have the right to have a baby?
I think you’re referring to Margaret Sanger. I have no insight into Mrs. Roosevelt’s heart. I do believe if you’re a poor woman and want to have a baby you have every right to the best care and certainly to have the baby. I also believe that whatever her socioeconomic status any woman has the right NOT to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term. It saddens me that well-off women can still (usually) get abortion care if they choose, but poor women are increasingly denied either choice or decent care because free clinics are being forced to close. Thanks for dropping by my blog.
“I absolutely stand behind the story,” sounds to me like, “I do not have evidence.” I suspect that the story about Eleanor is true, but I really totally dislike “I absolutely stand behind” as a replacement for evidence. Otherwise every accused person would go free. The lawyer could simply say, “I absolutely stand behind my client’s innocence.”
I’d really appreciate it if you could give the exact “My Day” column reference, as I need it for an upcoming presentation, and would love to have such evidence to use. Much thanks!
Unfortunately, I do not have the column. About a year ago, another reader questioned whether it existed, and I replied (somewhat testily, but nevertheless repeat because it’s all I know:) “I suspect it is archived somewhere but I don’t feel the need (or have the time) to undertake a search. My personal encounter with and knowledge of Eleanor Roosevelt is consistent with the story. And more importantly, Milton Moskowitz is a highly respected, frequently honored author/journalist who writes about socially responsible business and other issues, and whose integrity has been unquestioned for all the decades of his distinguished career. For anyone to say he “suspect(s) it doesn’t exist” about a column Milton Moskowitz references is beyond disrespectful and utterly without basis or justification.” I absolutely stand behind the story, and this blog, but am afraid I can’t authenticate it by column and date. I did know Mrs. Roosevelt, if only slightly, and the story is also consistent with everything I know of her. Sorry I can’t offer any better help. Thanks for dropping by.
Where is this column? I haven’t been able to locate it and suspect it doesn’t exist.
If you’re referring to the “My Day” column that Milt Moskowitz mentioned in the story I cited, I suspect it is archived somewhere but I don’t feel the need (or have the time) to undertake a search. My personal encounter with and knowledge of Eleanor Roosevelt is consistent with the story. And more importantly, Milton Moskowitz is a highly respected, frequently honored author/journalist who writes about socially responsible business and other issues, and whose integrity has been unquestioned for all the decades of his distinguished career. For anyone to say he “suspect(s) it doesn’t exist” about a column Milton Moskowitz references is beyond disrespectful and utterly without basis or justification.
Which day in 1962 did ER write about her support for a woman’s right to choose?
Hi Paul, Thanks for dropping by, even if this essay was posted some years back. As you can see if you note other replies I’ve made: As far as I know, the “My Day” columns are not archived, and I do not have the column. I only have my own recollections of having met Mrs. Roosevelt, of her exchanges with my father who knew her, and the word of my great good friend Milt Moskowitz who told the story I quote. I’m sorry that Milt does not have any copy of the column. I’m also sorry that Eleanor Roosevelt is no longer with us, because I am absolutely certain that she would be ferocious in defending ALL women’s rights, including the right to choose what happens to one’s own body.