Marcena W. Love
Founder and Chair Emeritus
Marcena W. Love is the Founder of Personal PAC. Love has been an unflagging supporter of reproductive rights since she first joined the board of the Chicago Area Planned Parenthood Association in 1966. She went on to co-found the National Abortion Rights Action League in Chicago and the Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights.
At the time Love joined Planned Parenthood, the subject of birth control, let alone abortion, was a controversial topic of conversation. One of the main problems with the law banning most abortions was that women of means continued to find ways to obtain the illegal procedure, while poor women were frozen out. Love came to believe legalizing abortion was a matter of fairness and equality and has ever since dedicated her life to the cause.
In 1978, while sitting around her kitchen table with what turned out to be her first board of directors, Love founded Personal PAC. The name derives from the belief that the right to an abortion is a personal freedom. For eleven years until 1989, the PAC sent out pro-choice voters’ guides and raised at most between $5,000 and $10,000 each election cycle.
Then in 1989 the U.S. Supreme Court in the Webster decision ruled that the states could pass legislation limiting access to abortion. Personal PAC rose to the challenge and transformed itself from a kitchen table working group into a professional organization. The board was expanded to increase its diversity. They then hired an executive director and rented office space. Contributions rose dramatically the next election cycle, and have continued to grow strongly since then.
Love, a life-long Republican, comes from a long line of political activists. Her mother was a founder of Republican Women in Pittsburgh, and her great grandmother was a suffragette, who worked to persuade the Daughters of the American Revolution to support a woman’s right to vote. Marcena Love has with her husband, Mike, continued the tradition by raising three politically active daughters: Cathie Love; Anne Marso; and Sara Love. Marcena has been honored a number of times by: NARAL of Illinois, Chicago Women in Philanthropy, Chicago Sun-Times Ten Most Powerful Women in Politics, and The ACLU of Illinois.
Love retired from the Board of Directors in June 2007.