For Immediate Release: Monday, February 8, 2021
After eight years, four election cycles and four Supreme Court nomination battles, Ilyse Hogue announced today she is stepping down as President of NARAL Pro-Choice America in late May.
Under Ilyse’s leadership, NARAL, a national organization with affiliates and chapters around the country, became a political, advocacy, research and messaging powerhouse that helped redefine the playing field and expand reproductive freedom. During her tenure, NARAL tripled in membership and budget, and expanded into numerous key battleground states. In this last election cycle, NARAL ran the largest electoral program in the organization’s history helping to flip the Senate and win the White House for President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. Ilyse focused on mainstreaming abortion rights, revolutionizing how public opinion research measures support for abortion and mobilizing the 77% of Americans who support the legal right to abortion.
“Leading NARAL for the last eight years and getting to work with the most talented, committed, and effective group of staff, members, board and allies across the movement has been one of the true honors of my life,” said Ilyse Hogue. “ I want to thank all the NARAL staff, board members and partners for making the last eight years an incredible and successful journey. NARAL is well-positioned to use this moment to expand reproductive freedom and confront new challenges on the horizon. This is a moment for new leadership to take up the torch as NARAL moves forward to its next chapter. I look forward to working with the Board on the transition and being an active NARAL member for many years to come.”
The organization is well-positioned to leverage the opportunities that lie ahead, with the Democratic trifecta in Washington and in many states across the nation, starting with dismantling restrictions on access to abortion, which disproportionately affect low income women and women of color and advancing a political vision of what a world looks like when reproductive freedom is a reality for every body.
“Thanks to Ilyse’s vision, passion and political and strategic leadership, NARAL’s future has never looked so bright,” said Anna Burger, Board Chair of NARAL’s Board of Directors. “Because of Ilyse’s leadership, NARAL could not be in a better position to take advantage of Democratic control of Washington to make reproductive freedom a reality for every body. I, and the whole board, are beyond grateful for all that she has done for the organization and our members.”
Ilyse joined NARAL after previously working at MoveOn, Media Matters for America and Rainforest Action Network. She served on the Editorial Board for The Nation Magazine and was a Board member for Bend the Arc: Jewish Partnership for Justice. In 2016, Ilyse made history as the first person to share her abortion story from the stage of the Democratic National Convention. The convention speech was part of a key element of Ilyse’s strategy at NARAL, an effort to destigmatize abortion and compel a values-based conversation about the political imperative to fight for reproductive freedom. She served on the Democratic Platform Committee in 2016 and 2020, which were the most progressive in history on issues of reproductive freedom.
llyse is the author of the bestselling book and podcast called The Lie That Binds, a research driven history of the right-wing anti-choice movement and its connections to white supremacy and an agenda to undercut democracy. She will focus on seeing the organization through the transition before taking some down time to consider her next career move.
Ilyse is the organization’s fourth President in its 50-year history and oversaw a 50th Anniversary celebration in 2019 that featured Hillary Clinton, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Congresswomen Barbara Lee and Ayanna Pressley.
She will remain with the organization until May 28th. The board will conduct a national search for the next NARAL leader.
Key accomplishments of Ilyse’s tenure
- Took the organization from $9 million annually to $34 million annually
- Expanded into four new battleground states in eight years (IA, NV, GA, AZ)
- Expanded membership from 500,000 to 2.5 million in all 50 states
- Built the largest opposition research shop in the movement focused on monitoring and documenting anti-choice extremism and disinformation
For over 50 years, NARAL Pro-Choice America and its network of state affiliates and chapters have fought to protect and advance reproductive freedom—including access to abortion, contraception, and paid family leave—for every body. NARAL is powered by its more than 2.5 million members from every state and congressional district in the country, representing the 7 in 10 Americans who believe every person should have the freedom to make the best decision for themselves about if, when, and how to raise a family.