Judy Kahrl

Judy Kahrl

This spring, Julia “Judy” Kahrl was named to the Maine Women’s Hall of Fame, along with Astronaut Jessica Meir. Here is Judy’s story….Every minute, somewhere in the world, a woman dies of a pregnancy-related trauma. For Judy Kahrl, this horror is something she refuses to ignore. Now 88, Judy has been a passionate supporter of women’s reproductive health issues. It’s in her DNA. Her father, Dr.Clarence Gamble was raised with a sense of social responsibility. While he could have been a wealthy playboy, Gamble instead became a brilliant doctor, choosing to become deeply involved in issues of birth control and women’s reproductive rights.His motto was “every child a wanted child.”As a wife and mother of four–earning a PhD in adult education along the way–Judy has championed improved maternity care and served on many non-profit boards,including Pathfinder International, a global women’s health organization. Over the years, during her travels abroad with Pathfinder,she witnessed the strong influence of grandmothers in their communities. In 2013, she launched GRR! (Grandmothers forReproductive Rights) from her farmhouse kitchen in Arrowsic to encourage older women in Maine to voice their power, buttressed by years of experience and wisdom. Today, a thriving organization, GRR! has been replicated in 8 other states from California to Florida, as “grandmothers” rally to protect reproductive freedoms they had fought so hard to win in the past. Asked about the impending overturn of Roe v Wade, Judy minced no words. “Are we angry? You bet! Misogyny is now undeniable in the Supreme Court. Justice Alito, supported by the other conservative justices, believes that when a sperm and an egg join in a woman’s womb, she loses any right to terminate that pregnancy. The government is trying to take control of every woman’s uterus. It invades our privacy. It’s just plain wrong. GRR!”

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Avery Hunt

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