The Committee for Progressive Legislation began when Kay Dingle, a wife and mother living in Delmar, New York, took the initiative to create a religious liberal voice that would bring attention to social issues important to many New Yorkers. She organized a group of Unitarian women to discuss ways in which they could be effective in supporting or opposing state legislation. They would raise a religious liberal voice in politics by enlisting other members of the Albany and Schenectady First Unitarian Universalist Societies and working together with other organizations interested in dealing with social problems. That group of women became the Committee for Progressive Legislation.
In 1969, the organization became widely known for lobbying in favor of the repeal of New York State's abortion law, which dated back to the early nineteenth century. The group's main concerns were abortion, welfare rights, and the attack on separation of church and state. As time passed however they discovered that trying to tackle several issues at once was difficult and they began to concentrate mainly on the repeal of New York State's abortion law and state funds for family planning clinics.
Members of the Committee for Progressive Legislation donated their time telephoning legislators, designing posters, and conducting research to support their stance on social issues. Political workshops were held training members and other volunteers to be effective lobbyists as well as in dealing with disadvantaged communities. Lobbying sessions were also held in which members learned about legislative bills and how to find legislative allies.
After the amendment of New York's abortion law in April 1970 the group focused on family planning issues. In their correspondence to legislators, members advocated state sponsored family planning clinics. They also lobbied the state to pay abortion fees for low-income women.
In 1977 as membership and commitment to the issues dwindled the group elected to disband.
This collection contains the papers of the Committee for Progressive Legislation from 1950-1993. It follows the group from its origins as the project of a member of the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Albany. The collection documents the organization's activity in lobbying the New York State Legislature for various social issues, but shows their main interests were repealing the New York State abortion law and advocating family planning. Included in the collection are administrative files, records of the group's legislative interests, and research of social issues.
Documentation on family planning matters as well as other social welfare issues is abundant in the collection. The numerous news clippings on abortion rights and family planning articles as well as the correspondence between chairperson Kay Dingle and New York State legislators is a strong point of the collection. The legislative correspondence gives an idea of the lobbying methods of the Committee for Progressive Legislation as well as their stance on specific bills.
The collection does not give any specific information on the personal lives of the committee members or the effect that their passionate involvement in the organization had on their family lives. One letter does imply that a group member resigned due to pressure from her husband, but not much additional information is available. Founding member Kay Dingle's last correspondence with the organization was from her Arizona home on May 10, 1993. This letter can be found in Series 2: Issue Files.
All items in this manuscript group were donated to the University Libraries, M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, by Loren Broc of the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Albany in October 2001.
Processed by: Kenyetta Russell in 2003.
Collection record created by: Kenyetta Russell
Archival materials can be view in-person during business hours in our reading room, located on the top floor of the Science Library on the Uptown Campus.
We can also deliver digital scans for remote research for a fee.
Access to this record group is unrestricted.
The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of copyright. Whenever possible, the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives will provide information about copyright owners and other restrictions, but the legal determination ultimately rests with the researcher. Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the Head of Special Collections and Archives.
Preferred citation for this material is as follows:
Identification of specific item, series, box, folder, Committee For Progressive Legislation Records, 1950-1993. M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University at Albany, State University of New York (hereafter referred to as [shortened name]).
|1||2||Correspondence, Ann Brandon||1969-1971|
|1||3||Correspondence, L.E. Hoogstoel||1972-1977, Undated|
|1||9||Newsletter Bulletins||1969-1978, Undated|
|1||10||Organizational Planning||1969-1970, Undated|
|1||11||Organizational Structure||1969-1978, Undated|
|1||13||Position Papers||1971-1978, Undated|
|2||1||Financial Ledger||1969-1977, Undated|
|2||2||Committee for Progressive Legislation Buttons||Undated|
|1||18||Abortion, News Clippings||1969-1971|
|1||19||Abortion, News Clippings||1971-1978|
|1||20||Abortion, News Clippings||Undated|
|1||21||Abortion Reform Subcommittee||1969-1970, Undated|
|1||22||Associated Groups||1975-1978, Undated|
|1||24||Fact Sheets||1970-1977, Undated|
|1||25||Family Planning, Correspondence||1950-1970 September|
|1||26||Family Planning, Correspondence||1970 October-1978, Undated|
|1||27||Family Planning, News Clippings||1969-1970|
|1||28||Family Planning, News Clippings||1971|
|1||29||Family Planning, News Clippings||Undated|
|1||30||Family Planning Services||1970-1971, Undated|
|1||31||Pamphlets and Brochures||1971, Undated|
|1||32||Social Welfare, News Clippings||1969-1978, Undated|
|1||33||Social Welfare Subcommittee, Situation Analyses||1969, Undated|
|1||34||Social Welfare Subcommittee, Minutes||1969-1970, Undated|
|1||35||Correspondence, Legislative||1960-1970, Undated|
|1||36||Correspondence, Legislative||1971-1978, Undated|
|1||37||Correspondence, Lobbying||1966-1969, Undated|
|1||38||Legislative Bills||1968-1976, Undated|
|1||40||Legislative Hearing Statements||1969-1970|
|1||45||Statements for Legislators||1967-1971|
|1||46||State of New York, Interviews and Analyses||1969-1970, Undated|