Ruth Proskauer Smith
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Ruth Proskauer Smith, a longtime reproductive rights advocate who helped found what is now Naral Pro-Choice America, died in 2010. "In recent years, Mrs. Smith remained involved with Naral Pro-Choice New York, an affiliate of the national body. She was also active in the right-to-die movement, advocating that physician-assisted suicide be legally available to terminally ill people.
"Ruth Proskauer was born on Aug. 14, 1907, in Deal, N.J., and reared in Manhattan. Hers was a distinguished family: her father, Judge Joseph M. Proskauer, served on the New York State Supreme Court before becoming a partner in the law firm now known as Proskauer Rose. Her mother, the former Alice Naumburg, helped found the Euthanasia Society of America, a right-to-die group. As a young woman, Ruth received her first public-speaking lesson from Gov. Alfred E. Smith, to whom her father was a close adviser.
"Ruth Proskauer earned a bachelor’s degree from Radcliffe in 1929, followed by a master of fine arts from Radcliffe in 1932. She became a fieldworker for the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts in the 1940s and was later its executive secretary. Afterward, she held high positions with several national reproductive rights organizations..." 
Resources and articles
- Ruth P. Smith, Abortion-Rights Pioneer, Dies at 102, NYT, accessed November 21, 2011.