by Andy Moore of

main-thumb-4113327-200-M9acS2peUs5T3HwWkwWH11Wyfg026kDHOn January 14 NARAL Pro-Choice America announced it had chosen a new president. The newly-selected leader, Ilyse Hogue, pictured right, is set to take over the reigns of the organization at the end of January.

“So, who is this woman?” is the question most pro-lifers and even many on the other side are asking.

When current president Nancy Keenan (pictured below with Hogue) announced in May 2012 her intention to retire, she said she thought a younger leader would better connect with the Millennial generation.

In an interview last month Keenan explained pro-abortion youth were not as motivated to bring about social change as their pro-life counterparts:

This isn’t on the top of their list of issues that they’re concerned about right now. And so we have to close that intensity gap, we have to make the case for the importance of the vigilance around this issue.

This Millennial generation… they are pro-choice, but there is an intensity gap and there still has to be some connecting the personal to the political.

However, as pointed out, Hogue doesn’t solve NARAL’s problems in terms of its inability to connect with Millenials. At 42 years old, Hogue is not part of the post-Roe generations, as she was born before the Supreme Court handed down that infamous decision.

Hogue also shares a similarly pessimistic outlook on the state of the fight for abortion rights, admitting in a September 2012 op ed piece at The Nation, “we are losing substantial ground on reproductive choice.”

naral nancy keenan ilyse hogue

When Janet Denlinger, chair of the group’s board of directors, said NARAL was fortunate to find such a uniquely qualified candidate to lead the organization,  she wasn’t kidding.

However, from our research, Hogue has close to zero experience in the pro-abortion lobby itself.

Yet Hogue more than makes up for this with her vast experience organizing for multiple firmly left-wing groups as well as her political connections. Below is a summary of her more notable activist jobs and activities:

  • 1999: “Forest Specialist” for Greenpeace
  • 2000 – 2006: Director of the Global Finance Campaign at the Rainforest Action Network, during which time she expressed support for Young Democratic Socialists, the youth arm of Democratic Socialists of America, the largest socialist organization in the U.S., as an “important partner”
  • 2006 – 2011: Director of Political Advocacy and Communications for, mobilizing its members and working closely with leaders in Congress and the White House to advocate for socialist legislation on financial regulatory reform and health care. During this tenure Hogue spoke at three of Campaign for America’s Future‘s annual conferences and met twice with Elizabeth Warren, then-assistant to President Obama and Special Advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury
  • 2011 – 2012: Senior Adviser to Media Matters for America, where she focused on advocacy programs to undercut the power of right-wing media
  • 2012: Co-founded/directed Friends of Democracy PAC, which raised over $2.4 million to reform lobbying rules, rules around donations to candidates, and greater transparency and disclosure of money in politics

Hogue currently serves on the steering committee for the Center for Corporate Policy, a partner organization of the Institute for Policy Studies. She also writes for The Nation, the self-described ”flagship of the left.”

2013-01-16_0758In fact, so influential is Hogue, Huffington Post has listed her as one of 50 women “who made the 2012 election.”

Hogue has invested much of her career discovering cutting edge ways to engage better with a larger support base. With a group of veteran advocates of child killing gathered around her, Hogue will soon learn the ropes and begin to channel her extensive experience in organizing into NARAL. This should greatly benefit NARAL by both strengthening its brand and relevance as well as strengthening its base.

I believe Hogue is more savvy than Keenan. She is more driven. She will serve NARAL as a fiercer opponent of the pro-life movement.

Despite these benefits to NARAL and the pro-abortion lobby, the fact remains that after 40 years of bloodshed, public opinion is shifting.

With the advent and subsequent saturation of our culture by ultrasound imaging, and by a new generation who understand that abortion is not a political issue but a social justice issue, the days of legal abortion are numbered.

Ilyse Hogue has been given the wheel of a sinking ship.


This article was written using research gathered by AbortionWiki, and all references for this article can be found at Ilyse Hogue’s profile on that website.

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