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Celebrities and Advocates Join Planned Parenthood to Honor Exceptional Contributions
Actors Kate Walsh, Blythe Danner and Suzanne Whang Take Part in Gala Celebration
Washington, DC – Planned Parenthood proudly paid tribute to reproductive health and rights advocates, as well as members of the arts and entertainment industries whose vision and commitment have advanced sexual and reproductive health and rights. Planned Parenthood Federation of American (PPFA) Board of Advocates members Kate Walsh and Blythe Danner took part in the celebration.
The awards gala and dinner is the highlight of the 2008 Planned Parenthood National Conference, which is attended by hundreds of leaders and members of the organization who work on the frontline of women’s reproductive health care every day. All of the honorees have made outstanding contributions to the effort of ensuring access to affordable reproductive health care and family planning services.
“Planned Parenthood takes great pride in providing vital health care, family planning services, information and education to families in communities across the nation,” said PPFA President Cecile Richards. “And we take equal pride in knowing that we have great champions and supporters — friends, really — standing behind us and standing up for reproductive health and rights.”
Blythe Danner presented a special award, and Maggie Awards, honoring artists who champion reproductive health and rights, were given to Kate Walsh and to the hit television drama Boston Legal.
Honorees at the 2008 gala included
• Kenneth C. Edelin, M.D., received Planned Parenthood’s highest honor, the PPFA Margaret Sanger Award. Dr. Edelin was tried, convicted and exonerated of manslaughter for performing a routine, safe and legal abortion. He has dedicated his life to ensuring women have access to reproductive health care and family planning services, and is a former chairperson of PPFA. You can watch an excerpt of his speech here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QRaWmL9Z72k
• Kate Walsh, star of ABC’s Private Practice and PPFA Board of Advocates member, received a Maggie Award. Walsh is an exemplary artist who harnesses her celebrity to advocate for affordable access to reproductive health care and family planning services and REAL sex education as the best ways to put prevention first.
• ABC’s hit drama Boston Legal received a Maggie Award for entertaining and educating its audience about sexual and reproductive health and rights. Specifically, the award recognized the episode "The Chicken and the Leg," in which two of the attorneys pursue and win a lawsuit against a high school that teaches an abstinence-only program after a 15-year-old girl contracts HIV.
• The 2008 “Walk the Talk” Award was presented to Annette Cumming by Blythe Danner. Cumming, who is a member of the PPFA national board and serves as the chair of Americans for UNFPA (United Nations Populations Fund), was recognized for her extraordinary support of Planned Parenthood and her lifelong commitment to affordable access to reproductive health care and family planning services.
• Bryan Howard, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Arizona, received this year’s Ruth Green Award. Howard was recognized for his excellence in affiliate leadership, and his continued service to Planned Parenthood at the national level.