Frances “Poppy” Northcutt

Houston Area NOW and Texas NOW

Poppy is currently President of Houston Area NOW and Texas NOW. The National Organization for Women, Inc. is a grassroots, multi-issue women’s rights organization. In the 1970s, she served on NOW’s national board of directors and was founding chair of the Harris County Women’s Political Caucus, the first Women’s Advocate for the City of Houston, and special conference consultant for the National Women’s Conference.

In her early career Poppy worked as return-to-earth specialist on the Apollo Program and was the first woman in an operational support role in NASA’s Mission Control Center. She was a member of the mission operations team that received the Presidential Medal of Freedom for rescuing Apollo 13. She has been featured in magazine and newspaper articles and in documentaries about the space program, including the PBS programs “Makers,” “NOVA”, and “Chasing the Moon.”

In mid-life, Poppy became a lawyer and clerked for a federal appellate judge and then prosecuted and later defended criminal cases. She was the first felony prosecutor in the Domestic Violence Unit at the Harris County DA’s Office. In private practice, she specialized in criminal trial and appellate work. Now semi-retired, she is a referral lawyer for Jane’s Due Process, a non-profit providing legal assistance to pregnant teenagers. As President of Texas State NOW since 2012, she focuses on rebuilding the NOW organization in Texas and organizing voter registration and education projects and reproductive rights actions.

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