Generations of support rally for Planned Parenthood
Honorees Meredeth George (from left), originally of Glenview, Doris Conant of Glenview and Howard Conant Jr. of Glencoe. | Lee Litas~For Sun-Times Media
Planned Parenthood of Illinois, 18 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago; (312) 592-6800 or plannedparenthood.org/illinois
Updated: May 28, 2012 8:33AM
The Event: On the heels of an election year in which the unfathomable term “war on women” entered the national discourse, more than 400 supporters of women’s rights met on April 19 inside the Fairmont Hotel Chicago to celebrate and rally for the national nonprofit organization Planned Parenthood.
Since 1916 Planned Parenthood Federation of America has provided reproductive, maternal and child health services to both women and men. Approximately 60 percent of the population it serves is at or below the federal poverty level; 6 percent are male.
Cause Célèbre: “I think this is the year to change the public debate about women,” said guest speaker Joan Walsh, MSNBC political analyst and editor at large for Salon.com.
Despite recent attacks on Planned Parenthood, Walsh, who has publicly debated conservative zealots from Bill O’Reilly to Pat Buchanan about women’s health care, was optimistic about the future.
“The silver lining is that these attacks have really energized a lot of younger women [who] are seeing that this is their battle, too,” she said.
Event co-host and philanthropist Prue Beidler noted that the issue of women’s health care is not just a woman’s issue.
“This is a family issue. I now have not just a daughter and daughter-in-law, but granddaughters, and it really saddens me to think that things we fought for in my generation we might have to do all over again for them,” Beidler said.
The sentiment underscored the event’s Generations theme chosen to illustrate that “all generations are supporting Planned Parenthood and women’s reproductive health care,” said Carole Brite, president/CEO of Planned Parenthood of Illinois.
“Women’s health is person’s health,” said honoree Howard Conant Jr. “I don’t see how you can be a man and not be for women’s health or women’s rights.”
Bottom Line: The event raised $335,000 for Planned Parenthood of Illinois.