Celebration and Determination: Pasadena Planned Parenthood Honors its Cause

Group’s ‘most successful event ever,” packs the Langham

Published : Monday, October 2, 2017 | 4:45 AM

Dr. Willie Parker, MD, author and reproductive rights advocate, special guest at Sunday evening’s Planned Parenthood Pasadena & San Gabriel Valley Fall Benefit at the Huntington Langham, minced no words as the subject of his keynote address veered toward Pennsylvania Avenue.

“As I woke up on that dreary November morning to the news,” he told the packed banquet hall, “The words of Amy Winehouse came to me as I thought, ‘What kind of ——- is this?’ And then I thought, ‘Total ——.’”

As the audience gasped and laughed, Parker said, gently but seriously, “If you find yourself more offended by the words that I used than you are by the policies that are coming out of the White House, you need to re-calibrate your  priorities.”

Parker, who provides abortion services in Alabama and Georgia, was adamant in railing against the administration, saying firmly, “We don’t have to turn this country over to Trump. He does not have a mandate.”

The current administration took a beating from all of the evening’s speakers, ranging from Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-27th District) who said, “Tonight we celebrate, and tomorrow we go back to work against this administration,” to President & CEO Sheri Bonner, who said, “We are in the fight of our lives, and this makes us more determined than ever. We will never let up.”

The evening was the 85th celebration of Pasadena and San Gabriel Valley Planned Parenthood, and in the words of speaker David Quast, was the “most successful event in our history.”

Bonner also noted that since she took up the leadership position at Pasadena Planned Parenthood, the center has seen more than 60,000 visits, a 500% increase from previous years.

All of the speakers stressed the importance of Planned Parenthood, not only for family planning, for its cancer and prenatal care.

Quast also spoke to the importance of Planned Parenthood for young women, saying, “You don’t owe anyone a reason why you make your personal planning decisions.”

Meanwhile, the Southern-raised Parker, also quoted Winston Churchill, saying, “When you’re going through hell, keep going.” He also pointed out the biblical Parable of “The Good Samaritan,” saying, “All the people who wouldn’t help the hurt stranger, thought,  “Will it hurt me if I get involved here?,’ while the Good Samaritan thought, “Will it hurt this person I don’t help him?’”

Thus, the thrust of Dr. Parker’s presentation and of his new book, Life’s Work: A Moral Argument for Choice, was the perception of the reproductive rights issue not only on both sides of the political issue, but in the differences in perception by both men and women. Again, literally illustrating that difference, Parker described a cartoon, in which a man tells a woman, “You came from my rib!,” to which she responds. “No. I didn’t. You came out of my vagina.”

Parker also spoke to the larger issue of helping the Planned Parenthood organization over the long term, both politically and financially, even if one is not affected personally by reproductive rights issues, quoting the ancient Greek proverb, “Plant trees under which you will never sit.”

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