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
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.”
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
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.”
What Say You?
Copyright © 2011 by Santa Monica Mirror. All rights reserved.