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After 40 years, Karrie Galloway hands the reins off at Planned Parenthood Utah

Karrie Galloway, seen here at the KUER studios on March 21, is retiring as the president and CEO of the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah after 40 years.
Jim Hill
Karrie Galloway, seen here at the KUER studios on March 21, is retiring as the president and CEO of the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah after 40 years.

Forty years ago, a newcomer from Wisconsin joined the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah with a purpose.

“I can't imagine any other fight that is more important as a woman [than] to make sure that all my sisters have the ability to rule their own body — and how they would create a family,” said Karrie Galloway, the outgoing CEO and executive director of PPAU.

Galloway is now retiring, even as it’s “frustrating beyond belief” for her to be leaving just as abortion rights in Utah wither. Originally, her retirement was supposed to take place at the end of 2022 — but it was overtaken by events. Specifically, the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade last June and Utah’s swift move to affirm the state’s trigger ban.

The trigger ban is currently tied up in court after the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah sued, but that hasn’t deterred other actions from lawmakers, including this year’s ban on clinics. Galloway though remains confident the organization will keep assisting clients in some fashion.

The Legislature had their say, and now we will figure out how to make it work. Planned Parenthood has always lived up to the letter and the spirit of the law and made sure that we found a workaround for people to get their needs met.”

Despite the new state-by-state battles over abortion access, Galloway isn’t retiring because she feels defeated. Rather, at age 71, she said it’s time for new blood to take PPAU forward.

That new blood is Kathryn Boyd, who has been named the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah’s CEO. Most recently, Boyd was the vice president of operations for Carafem, a nonprofit reproductive health care organization dedicated to improving abortion access for pregnant people.

“I am so glad that Kat is willing to take on this challenge because the organization needs this new energy to move forward and so I say more power to her. When I think back to what I felt like 40 years ago, I had that energy and that drive,” said Galloway.

Karrie Galloway, Planned Parenthood Association of Utah, photo from the early 90s, courtesy photo
courtesy Planned Parenthood Association of Utah
Karrie Galloway in the offices of the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah in the early ‘90’s.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Pamela McCall: How will Utahns be impacted once the abortion clinic ban takes hold, leaving the nearest clinics six hours away in Colorado or Nevada?

Karrie Galloway: It makes it hard. When we work with people who now need to go out of state for abortion, our first question is: “Where do you have family, where do you have friends? People who can help you facilitate the rules of the road?” Think of all the people who live in Utah who have probably never traveled beyond the county that they've been born in. You ask them to go find health care six, eight hours away. That's unconscionable. It's ridiculous. It’s cruel.

PM: Is the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah working alongside Planned Parenthood of California in its attempt to build a clinic in Wendover, Nevada? 

KG: They are a sister organization. We would certainly refer people to that health center. Each Planned Parenthood throughout the country is an independent health care corporation. We would have no input into how they were run or how they served people, but we would have confidence that they would serve people with the best possible care.

PM: What advice do you have for the new CEO as she takes over the reins?

KG: Enjoy it. Don't get bogged down. Enjoy the incremental fights that we win in making sure Utah has a better future for families. It's been such a wonderful opportunity to move to a state that has so many intrinsic challenges. For a progressive feminist to be able to make a difference, surrounded by the Planned Parenthood community. Together for over 40 years, we've only moved forward. Even though this has been the crappiest year with his legislature being so relentless and not just on our issues. I look at the education issues that they did, the issues for the transgender community that they've decimated with their personal moral beliefs. We still are strong, our doors stay open. The people of Utah can count on Planned Parenthood. That's what I'm proudest of.

Pamela is KUER's All Things Considered Host.
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