Mary D. Crisp

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Mary Dent Crisp (November 5, 1923 – March 24, 2007) was an American Republican leader who was ousted in 1980 for supporting feminism and abortion.[1]

Crisp was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania. She graduated with a degree in botany at Oberlin College then studied political science at Arizona State University. She began her political career as a deputy registrar for a Barry Goldwater campaign.

She married William Crisp in 1948, and they divorced in 1976. That year, she was chosen as secretary of the Republican National Convention. By 1977 she had become the co-chairwoman of the Republican National Committee. Her most notable moment came at the 1980 Republican National Convention, when she made a plea for the Equal Rights Amendment. She also opposed the proposed constitutional ban on abortion.[2] On both positions, she was voted down, and Ronald Reagan rebuked her on television, saying she "should look to herself and see how loyal she’s been to the Republican Party for quite some time." [3]

She went on to support John B. Anderson until the end of his campaign, then worked for the National Abortion Rights Action League. She founded the National Republican Coalition for Choice following the Supreme Court of the United States decision in Webster v. Reproductive Health Services.

Crisp died at her home in Phoenix, Arizona.[4]


  1. ^ Miller, Judith (July 11, 1980). An Unrepentant Mary Crisp Departs; More to Be Said Praise and Anger. New York Times
  2. ^ Bennetts, Leslie (September 2, 1980). Republicans and Women's Issues: For Some, a Painful Conflict; Feelings Run High. Her Party Opposed Her. Some Are Apprehensive. New York Times
  3. ^ Warner, Edwin (Jul. 21, 1980). Reagan Takes Command. Time
  4. ^ Martin, Douglas (April 17, 2007). Mary D. Crisp, 83, Feminist G.O.P. Leader, Dies. New York Times

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