A Look Back On The History Of Planned Parenthood's Food Fare Fundraiser

Saturday, 16 Mar 2013, 6:00:00 AM

Susan Cloke

Susan Cloke, Columnist
Santa Monica Mirror Archives
Susan Cloke, Columnist

Julia Child was an ardent Planned Parenthood supporter

and the inspiration for the now much anticipated annual Planned Parenthood Los

Angeles (PPLA) Food Fare fundraising gala.

Thirty-four years ago Child supervised 20 amateur sous chefs in the

kitchen of Ma Maison in Beverly Hills as they prepared a five-course dinner for

130 people. That dinner was the first of the Planned Parenthood “Food Fares.”

More than 1500 people attended the 2013 PPLA Food Fare at

the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. It was the 17th year PPLA hosted the Food

Fare at the Civic. An orange carpet marked the entry into the beautifully

decorated and lit Civic, a great venue for this event. Fare goers feasted on

food prepared by Chef of the Year Joe Miller.  

PPLA chose Miller for the Chef of the Year Award based on

his culinary arts, his history of work with PPLA, and his commitment to the

goals and values of Planned Parenthood. The list of participating restaurateurs

reads like a “Who’s Who” of LA’s favorite chefs.

Fare goers also bought chic goods from vendors selling

everything from jewelry to pajamas.

The credit for planning and organizing this event goes to

the PPLA Guild President Marcy Bergren Pine and the approximately 200 Guild

Members. They volunteer their time and their expertise to support PPLA’s

fundraising and public outreach. The Food Fare is PPLA’s major fundraising

event. This year, from attendees, donors, sponsors, and contributors to the

event, they raised over $800,000.

Supporting reproductive rights wasn’t always this fun or

this easy. Giving out information about birth control was once a crime in the

U.S. The reproductive rights pioneer Margaret Sanger was jailed for opening the

first U.S. birth control clinic in Brooklyn, New York in 1916.

“Planned Parenthood dates its beginnings to 1916 when

Sanger, her sister, and a friend open America’s first birth control clinic in

Brooklyn, New York. In Sanger’s America, women cannot vote, sign contracts,

have bank accounts, or divorce abusive husbands. They cannot control the number

of children they have or obtain information about birth control, because in the

1870s a series of draconian measures, called the Comstock laws, made

contraception illegal and declared information about family planning and

contraception ‘obscene.’”

(plannedparenthood.org/about-us/who-we-are/history-and-successes.htm).

Sanger overcame legal and public obstacles and her clinic

became the American Birth Control League. Over time the League became the

Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Margaret Sanger was Planned

Parenthood’s first President.

Planned Parenthood “believes in the fundamental right of

each individual, throughout the world, to manage his or her fertility

regardless of the individual’s income, martial status, race, ethnicity, sexual

orientation, age, national origin, or residence. We believe that respect and

value for diversity in all aspects of our organization are essential to our

well-being. We believe reproductive self-determination must be voluntary and

preserve the individual’s right to privacy. We further believe that such

self-determination will contribution to an enhancement of the quality of life

and strong family relationships.”

(plannedparenthood.org/about-us/who-we-are/vision-4837.htm).

Serena Josel, the Director of Public Affairs for PPLA

said, “In LA it can become easy for us to become complacent but when you look

at what’s happening across the country you can’t be complacent. From 2010 to

2012 there were over 2000 pieces of anti- omen’s health legislation in the form

of anti abortion and anti birth control bills across the country.

“We served over 136,000 patients last year in our 19

clinics and 80 percent of our patients live at or below the poverty level. Our goal is to never turn anyone away,” said

Josel. “Fewer than 7 percent of patients are teens and the majority of teen

patients come with their parents. We provide reproductive health services,

family planning, contraception, abortion, screening for breast, cervical, and

testicular cancer, HIV screening and counseling, STD testing and treatment. We

work to help people have healthy families.

“California often leads the nation on reproductive rights

health care and that’s a signal to us to keep on. We follow common sense,

evidence based policies and when we don’t get bogged down by outside politics

we can concentrate on our essential work.”

PPLA expenses totaled approximately $48 million in 2012.

Over $5 million came from donations. The main source of funding is from

reimbursements for individual health services from private health insurance

companies or from public health coverage such as California Family Pact or from

health care programs supported by Federal funding.

Federal funding to Planned Parenthood started in 1970

when President Nixon signed “The Family Planning Services and Population

Research Act.”

The Act provides funding for family planning services and

was supported by a coalition of Democrats and Republicans. 

Signing the Act, Nixon said, “No American woman should be

denied access to family planning assistance because of her economic condition.”

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