Group Health Cooperative holds its first membership meeting outside Seattle, in Tacoma Dome, and members defeat an attempt to ban abortions on April 27, 1985.

  • By HistoryLink Staff
  • Posted 8/15/2005
  • Essay 7430
On April 27, 1985, Group Health Cooperative holds its first membership meeting outside Seattle, in Tacoma Dome, and the members soundly defeat an attempt to ban abortions at Group Health facilities. The meeting has a record turnout of some 2,000 members who are met by busloads of picketers and counter-picketers who harangue members to support or oppose a resolution to repeal Group Health's performance of abortions.

Aubrey Davis, chair of the board, presided over the meeting.

Other significant actions taken included a proposed bylaw amendment to provide for mail-in ballots on all future amendments and resolutions. Former trustee Eleanor Brand sharply opposed this, feeling that the amendment would nullify the annual meeting as a forum. Such a meeting, she declared, "is the only time the membership has the authority to control the Cooperative. Mail balloting destroys this authority" (Crowley, 192). University of Washington Professor Alex Gottfried also objected, arguing that attendance at annual meetings would dwindle and voting would become more "amenable to special interests" (Crowley, 192). Despite these objections, the members passed the amendment.

The members also passed a resolution dealing with an enormous increase in Group Health's administrative costs since 1982. The members rejected a resolution mandating severe cutbacks, but directed the board to reassess the commitment to growth.

They passed another bylaw amendment replacing Group Health's district structure with Medical Center Councils, and replacing the District Council with a Medical Center Council Assembly mandated to meet four times a year.

The debate on Resolution 3, to ban abortions, was passionate but civil. It was moved and championed by Tom Wingard-Phillips. The only real fireworks came over a proposal to vote by secret ballot, which was defeated. Group health members defeated the resolution to ban abortions 1,146.5 to 293.

Sources: Walt Crowley, To Serve the Greatest Number: A History of Group Health Cooperative of Seattle (Seattle: GHC/University of Washington Press, 1995), 191-193.

Licensing: This essay is licensed under a Creative Commons license that encourages reproduction with attribution. Credit should be given to both and to the author, and sources must be included with any reproduction. Click the icon for more info. Please note that this Creative Commons license applies to text only, and not to images. For more information regarding individual photos or images, please contact the source noted in the image credit.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License
Major Support for Provided By: The State of Washington | Patsy Bullitt Collins | Paul G. Allen Family Foundation | Museum Of History & Industry | 4Culture (King County Lodging Tax Revenue) | City of Seattle | City of Bellevue | City of Tacoma | King County | The Peach Foundation | Microsoft Corporation, Other Public and Private Sponsors and Visitors Like You