Who We Are
Washington Women for Choice members are businesswomen, diplomats, engineers, teachers, healthcare providers, lawyers, and moms. We believe deeply that being able to time or limit childbearing has been essential in our ability to nurture our careers and our children. We believe women can be trusted to make reproductive decisions that are wise and life-affirming, and that choosing to terminate an ill-timed or unhealthy pregnancy can be both. Beyond that, we vary widely. Some of us have had abortions, some have not. Some have chosen to have children–others not. We span three generations. We have different hobbies, spiritual priorities, passions and politics. The views represented on this page are those of individual members, not necessarily the community as a whole. But they offer a glimpse of why we have come together to safeguard the freedoms of the next generation of (Washington) women.
Washington Women for Choice was formed in 2000 to invest in pro-choice Democrats running against anti-choice Republicans. The primary focus is on Senate candidates because the U.S. Senate has the sole power to confirm or deny Supreme Court Justices, and these appointments have the greatest impact on our country’s future on the subject of Choice, with decisions that could last generations. Whether directly influencing legislation or helping decide whom will be the next U.S. Justice, U.S. Senators are critical to upholding our pro-choice values. WWfC can help that cause – and has: to date we have supported 85 campaigns for Federal Office.
WWFC hosts four or more events each year at which members meet pro-choice U.S. Senate candidates up for election or re-election. Settings are informal and intimate — often a small lunch or evening reception at a member’s home – giving members direct access to some of the most influential lawmakers in our country. In addition to these meetings with candidates, WWfC holds additional social and political functions for members, educational speakers, topical dinners and lunches, and an annual meeting where members discuss which candidates to support in the upcoming election cycle.
Members of our PAC each contribute a minimum of $2,500, and up to $5,000 per year to join. WWfC takes the membership contributions, bundles them together and then contributes up to $10,000 to selected candidate’s campaigns.
Selection Criteria: WWFC prioritizes candidates using selection criteria determined by our by-laws and our membership. The selection criteria and the priority placed on specific criteria is determined in the context of each election cycle and each race being considered. WWFC’s priorities may change from cycle to cycle and can even change over the course of a two-year election cycle as new information becomes available.
In general, candidates and races are evaluated based on the following criteria:
Position on Choice--Our ideal candidate has a perfect record of backing pro-Choice legislation. Some candidates have no public voting record or a mixed record on issues of Choice. In those cases, we evaluate the race on a case by case basis, soliciting their campaign for positions on Choice issues, and evaluating their stated position and/or votes in the context of their constituency, the political landscape, and their opposition.
Opponent’s Position on Choice--We also take into consideration the Republican opponent’s position on Choice. There are a handful of 100% Pro-Choice Republican Senators, and while in past elections we have not actively supported unseating those Senators, our membership recognizes that for key judicial appointments, votes tend to split down party lines. In that context, WWFC will support a viable 100% Pro-Choice Democratic candidate over a 100% Pro-Choice Republican where appropriate.
Strategic Importance--We particularly value races that represent a potential “pick-up” or are being fought in a battleground/swing state.
Ability to “Energize the Base”- At times we have an opportunity to meet with a Senator who is in a position to win election or reelection handily but who we think our membership would benefit by meeting with in person. While our PAC money contribution will have little impact on the race outcome, we feel the candidate’s impact on our membership is incalculable.
Ability to Win--We take a pragmatic approach to supporting races and give lower priority to contests where the Democratic candidate has virtually no chance of winning.
Financial Need--In politics, political contributions oftentimes begat other political contributions. We try and weigh the candidate’s financial need vs. what it will take to run a competitive race, recognizing that oftentimes an early donation by our PAC to a candidate who is in the early stages of fundraising can have a huge impact on his or her ability to raise more money later.
Democratic Primary--When there is more than one truly viable Democratic candidate running for the nomination, we may withhold support until after the primary.
Meeting Schedule--We support candidates at the $10K level who will meet with us in person. Candidates who are willing to travel to meet with us will be prioritized above candidates who cannot or will not travel.
Open Seat--Races where there is no incumbent on either side of the ticket are given extra consideration.
Our all-volunteer organization gets things done via an Executive Committee which meets monthly. Executive Committee Roles include co-chairs, treasurer, secretary, membership, candidate selection, events and communications. We always have room for a member to get involved in any aspect of the organization.
Members elect new leadership in July of each year.
Fighting for a Pro-Choice majority in the U.S. Senate since 2000.