CHICAGO — Planned Parenthood of Illinois (PPIL) honored generations of supporters at its second annual Generations Gala tonight at the Fairmont Hotel Millennium Park.
Nearly 400 supporters, including influential Chicago leaders such as: Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, actress and comedienne Julia Sweeney, and best-selling author Sara Paretsky, attended the event to celebrate how each generation approached the fight for reproductive justice and what Planned Parenthood is doing today to protect reproductive health care for future generations.
“Planned Parenthood has served millions of women across the nation for more than 90 years. In fact, 1 in 5 women has obtained services from a Planned Parenthood health center in her lifetime,” said Carole Brite, PPIL President and CEO. “Our collective mission – which we renew tonight – is to make sure that nothing stands in the way of women receiving the health care that they need and deserve.”
Joan Walsh, Editor At Large for Salon.com and MSNBC Political Analyst who has publicly debated about women’s healthcare with conservative zealots – from Bill O’Reilly to Dick Armey to Pat Buchanan - spoke about the war on women. Walsh addressed the need and ability for supporters to take rein of the national debate on women’s health care.
“We have an epochal opportunity to reframe this debate - to place contraception and abortion services in the full spectrum of women's health care and women's freedom.” said Walsh, “If we approach this debate with moral and political self-confidence, we'll win it.”
Yamani Hernandez, 34, Executive Director at the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health (ICAH) was honored with the Margaret Wiley Carr Bright Horizons Award. The award honors the next generation of influential activists in the reproductive rights movement. Hernandez was honored with this award for her work in providing youth leadership development, sexual health education and legislative advocacy to ensure that all young people have access to the information and services they need to stay healthy.
"Teen Pregnancy rates are down considerably as a direct result of access to contraception.” said Hernandez “It’s critical that we continue to work together to ensure that both the right to sex-education as well as access to contraception and sexual health services, no matter what their choices, serves the unique needs of teens and stays intact."
Guests also joined in honoring Doris Conant and her family for their commitment to protecting women’s health care. The Conants have been supporters of Planned Parenthood for more than 40 years. Doris has also shared her passion for protecting reproductive health by supporting Emily’s List, Personal PAC and the Chicago Foundation for Women.
All proceeds from the event 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 PPIL visit www.ppil.org.