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Deborah Turner

Deborah Turner

Deborah Turner, MD, JD, serves as the 20th president of the League of Women Voters of the United States (LWVUS) and chair of the Board of Trustees of the League of Women Voters Education Fund (LWVEF). She was elected board president at the 55th National Convention of the League of Women Voters in June of 2022 and will serve in this position until June 2024. 

Dr. Turner joined the Des Moines Metropolitan League in 2010 and became president in 2011 when the League was at risk of disbanding. She served in that role until 2015 helping revitalize membership and focus the board leadership. At the same time, she also served on the LWV Iowa board as the state vice president from 2011 to 2015, becoming co-president in 2015. In her dual roles with state and local Leagues, Deborah has provided leadership to strengthen relationships between local leagues and the state Board.  

Turner was elected to the League’s national board of directors in 2016 where she served on the Finance committee, Governance Committee, and chaired the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee. As chair of the DEI Committee, Deborah and her colleagues focused on organizational culture changes to the League’s mission work, emphasizing not only racial equity but also intergenerational dynamics, socioeconomic differences, gender identity, and interpersonal engagement.  

Dr. Turner received her BS from Iowa State University and her MD from the University of Iowa where she completed her Residency in OB-Gyn. She completed her fellowship in Gynecologic Oncology at MD Anderson Cancer Institute in Houston Texas. She practiced gynecologic oncology for 35 years, enhancing university programs at the University of Nebraska, University of Iowa, and the Medical College of Wisconsin teaching residents and students. She also served the private sector bringing her specialty to Genesis Medical Center in Davenport, IA, Mercy Cancer Center in Mason City, IA, and Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines. In July 2015 she left active practice to become Vice President of International Programs Medical Programs of The Outreach Program. She participated in twelve medical missions to Tanzania since 2011 and worked with Singida’s Medical Center, Outreach’s Children’s Feeding Centers, and Rotary International. She received her JD from Drake University in 2007. She has served as Associate Medical Director of Planned Parenthood of North Central States since 2016.

Turner was inducted into the Iowa Women’s Hall of Fame in 2013 and received the Gertrude Rush Award from the National Bar Association in 2015. She was awarded the Louise Noun Visionary Women of the year award from Young Women's Resource Center Des Moines in 2018. Her most treasured award is a certificate from the Schwartz Center for Compassionate Care. In 2022, Fortune Magazine named her a "Marquis Who's Who" top professional for her work with LWV.

Dr. Turner lives in Nebraska and has two grown children – a son and a niece. 

Click here to request Dr. Turner or another League of Women Voters of the US speaker for your event.

In a groundbreaking year, you rallied, donated, wrote representatives, and voted to defend a democracy in which all voters can safely and fairly make their voices heard.

Here are a few highlights.

LWVUS board president and Planned Parenthood North Central States medical director, Dr. Deborah Ann Turner, made the following remarks in response to the Supreme Court of the US's decision to overturn the constitutional right to abortion.

COVID-19 brought pain, loss, and loneliness, but in the case of our democracy, it also brought important lessons. We saw firsthand how we could make our democracy available to more voters, honoring the voices of low-income, BIPOC, disabled, and other Americans. We must build on this knowledge and not waste it or use it to restrict the voter further.

Our nation is at a crucial turning point, how we proceed will determine whether our democracy survives. Our system of government is fractured, but the will of the people is strong. We don’t have a reputation for backing down and we will not give up now. Quite the opposite. 

Just as our advocacy led, directly or indirectly, to all the gains mentioned above, our actions can save our democracy in this pivotal moment. 

The journey to enshrine equal rights among the sexes in the US Constitution has been a long one. But this year the ERA is closer than ever to taking its rightful place in the supreme law of our nation.

Board president, Dr. Deborah Turner reflects on the contributions to voting rights advancement from Black women. 

More voters than ever before participated in our elections in 2020, thanks in part to the work of the League across the country. Here are just a few of our successes in 2020.

In addition to all the successes of our election this year, we have a very special success to celebrate: we have a woman ready to take her rightful place in the White House. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is prepared to be the first woman to ascend to one of the highest offices in our country. It has been a long time coming, America. 

On this day in 1920, the 19th Amendment was ratified, bringing a hard-fought campaign to allow women the right to vote to a conclusion.