Chicago – Planned Parenthood of Illinois honored the contributions of leaders who have expanded and protected reproductive rights and access to reproductive healthcare tonight at its Generations Gala. The event was held at Chicago’s historic Navy Pier.
More than 400 supporters including Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-9) attended the event which celebrated progress in the fight for reproductive justice and several generations of women and men who have led the effort.
“Planned Parenthood of Illinois provides comprehensive reproductive healthcare to more than 60,000 women, men, and teens across the state each year,” said Carole Brite, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Illinois. “Our collective mission – which we renew tonight – is to make sure that nothing stands in the way of women receiving the healthcare that they need and deserve– no matter what. ”
Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America spoke about thecurrent state of women’s healthcare and what Planned Parenthood is doing today to protect reproductive healthcare for future generations.
“It’s more important than ever that we stand together in support of women’s health care,” said Richards. “As Planned Parenthood gears up for the Affordable Care Act, which represents the most significant step forward for women’s health care in decades, politicians across the country continue to introduce bills that aim to restrict access to women’s health care. That’s why Planned Parenthood is absolutely committed to ensuring all women, men, and teens in Illinois have access to the care they need to stay healthy and have the information they need to get health insurance."
Sandra Fluke,an activist who came to national attention in February 2012 when a Congressional committee that consisted only of men prohibited her from testifying on the need for comprehensive contraceptive coverage, was honored with the Margaret Wiley Carr Bright Horizons Award, and award that honors the next generation of influential activists in the reproductive rights movement.
“It’s an honor to be recognized with the Planned Parenthood of Illinois Margaret Wiley Carr Bright Horizons Award. As an attorney and social justice advocate, I’m committed to fighting alongside Planned Parenthood for reproductive justice for all women and men, including immigrant members of our communities,” said Fluke. “As we celebrate tonight’s Generations Gala and reflect on what our generation’s legacy will be, we must all commit to ensuring that immigration reform includes access to health benefits for families paying taxes on the road to citizenship.”
Senator Heather Steans (D-7) talked about the Accurate Sexual Health Education Bill (HB 2675) which passed in the Illinois House this April by a vote of 66 to 52. Senator Steans has introduced the bill in the Illinois Senate every year for the last three years. HB 2675 creates a standard for age appropriate comprehensive sexual health education courses for Illinois public school youth.
"The passing of HB 2675 in the House was a huge victory for Illinois youth who are now one step closer to receiving age-appropriate sexual health education," said Senator Steans. "One of the most important things we can teach our youth is how to be safe and healthy. Studies show that sexual health education that is medically accurate, age-appropriate, and comprehensive, will help reach this goal."
The Lehman Family was honored for their support of Planned Parenthood and access to women’s healthcare for three generations. Building on the example of Elliot and Frances Lehman, the Lehman family has supported Planned Parenthood through leadership roles, board service, and financial support, making a lasting impact on Illinois women.
Planned Parenthood of Illinois raised more than $350,000 at the Generations Gala. All proceeds benefitted Planned Parenthood’s mission and services. More than 90 percent of PPIL’s services are preventive including: lifesaving cervical and breast cancer screenings, STD testing and treatment, HIV testing and counseling, birth control services, and more. For more information about Planned Parenthood of Illinois, visit www.ppil.org.