Her coming-of-age tale starts with a tiny Indiana town, a narrow religious upbringing, a conservative family where men were men and women were women.

With abortion all but banned, Sue Errington doesn’t, can’t, won’t give up

Even as a little girl growing up in Atwood, Indiana, Rep. Sue Errington, pictured here around age 9, chafed under the traditional gender roles she was expected to abide by—for example, having to iron clothes inside when she would rather have been cutting grass outside. "I wanted to be me," she says.

She always felt different. Later, her mother would blame her going away to college for this difference that had always been there. “You should have been born a boy,” her mother liked to say. Quietly at first, and then louder, her daughter asked, “Why?”

With abortion all but banned, Sue Errington doesn’t, can’t, won’t give up

Rep. Sue Errington spent 17 years at Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky as public policy director before deciding she might effect greater change by switching sides of the table. She spent four years as a state senator before becoming a state representative in 2012.

With abortion all but banned, Sue Errington doesn’t, can’t, won’t give up

After graduating from high school, when she sat for this portrait, Rep. Sue Errington spent formative years on the campuses of Indiana University and University of Michigan, where the Vietnam War and other issues birthed a generation of activists. 

With abortion all but banned, Sue Errington doesn’t, can’t, won’t give up

Rep. Sue Errington in her 20s. She studied Spanish in school and taught it at the college level before her interest in women's issue and politics became the focus of her career. 

With abortion all but banned, Sue Errington doesn’t, can’t, won’t give up

Rep. Sue Errington poses with her daughter Amy Oversmith, her granddaughter Adelaide, and her husband, Paul, a former Ball State University physics professor, before his death in 2016. Muncie activist Aimee Robertson-West says, "A lot of people thought she would just retire [after her husband's death], leave on a high note and do something else. And she didn't, and I'm so glad she didn't." Robertson-West calls Muncie the last blue spot in East Central Indiana due to Errington's work. 

Colleen Steffen is executive editor of TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students. Prior to stints in journalism higher education, marketing/public relations and consulting, she spent 13 years as a reporter and editor at newspapers in three states. 

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