National Press Club

Actress-activist Kathleen Turner criticizes GOP on family-planning policy

September 6, 2012 | By Richard Lee | rf-lee@earthlink.net

Kathleen Turner (l) crosses the line between art and life by performing a segment of her one-woman show, "Red Hot Patriot," at a Sept. 6 National Press Club luncheon. Turner portrays the late columnist Molly Ivins in the play at Arena Stage through Oct. 23. Club President Theresa Werner conducted the Q&A.

Kathleen Turner (l) crosses the line between art and life by performing a segment of her one-woman show, "Red Hot Patriot," at a Sept. 6 National Press Club luncheon. Turner portrays the late columnist Molly Ivins in the play at Arena Stage through Oct. 23. Club President Theresa Werner conducted the Q&A.

Photo/Image: Marshall H. Cohen

If Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is elected, it would spell disaster for Planned Parenthood, actress-activist Kathleen Turner told a predominantly female National Press Club luncheon audience Sept. 6.

Turner, the still-sultry and throaty-voiced star of stage and screen and an impassioned advocate for women’s reproductive rights, took time from her current show at a local theater to articulate her election-year concerns about conservative and far-right politicians seeking to overturn and cut back hard-won choice rights.

She noted that some 80 years after it was founded by Margaret Sanger, Planned Parenthood remains a controversial and divisive issue for many Americans.

“Contraception is essential to family planning,” Turner said. “Every single Republican has been trying to eliminate this. One in five women in America have used family planning services, much to the dismay of conservative politicians who are trying to outdo each other in trying to prevent this. Why are they trying to prevent women’s access to family planning? It simply does not make sense.”

President Barack Obama, on the other hand, “deserves all the credit we can possibly give him” for being more supportive of the cause of women’s health and reproductive rights, when so many on the political right are seeking to turn back the clock and eliminate them altogether, Turner said.

Turner, for all her commitment to this cause, doesn’t see much hope for change until more women are elected to political office.

“We are 17 percent of Congress -- House and Senate," Turner said. "We are very, very outnumbered. Get more representation. That has to be done.”

Club President Theresa Werner asked Turner if she has considered running for political office herself.

“I’ve been asked,” Turner replied. “I do a much better job acting. I am as passionate about it as when I was 12. The stuff of human behavior is fascinating stuff: Why did you do that? Why did you say that? As I get older, I learn more.”

Turner is currently appearing in “Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins,” a play about the legendary liberal Texas columnist, which runs through October 23 at Arena Stage.