“One in four teenage girls in Connecticut has a sexually transmitted disease, but among African-Americans it’s 1 in 2. Those numbers are unacceptable.”
Planned Parenthood of Southern New England (PPSNE) President and CEO Judy Tabar (pictured on the right) offered that new challenge as she presided over the venerable group’s annual fundraiser Thursday night (“New Haven’s Choice Affair”) at Long Wharf Theater.
The event drew 200 people to the theater to celebrate the victory of President Obama and other pro-choice candidates in Connecticut and nationally.
They didn’t rest on their laurels. “After a year of relentless attacks, I’m thrilled to be celebrating the outcome of the election. Now we can focus on expanding access,” Tabar said.
The star of the evening was longtime Planned Parenthood supporter Kathleen Turner, who is acting in and directing The Killing of Sister George at the Long Wharf beginning Nov. 28.
Turner said she began using Planned Parenthood services as a college student in Baltimore when she was 19; her involvement has grown with her fame. “Even with the election, the fight is far far from over,” she said.
Turner cited the recent passage of laws in Virginia requiring reproductive health clinics to have unnecessary corridor widths and other facility modifications on the scale of hospitals or face closure.
“Nothing is going to replace Planned Parenthood until every man and woman in America is going to have their own private doctor. And it’s not going to happen,” she said.
Asked how Planned Parenthood can address the health disparities among teenage girls that Tabar referenced, Turner said, “Let us into the schools” to offer reproductive health education.
A member of PPSNE’s political action committee, Ellen Lubell, was attending the party from Fairfield. “Teenagers need health education and service and it can’t be just government,” she said.
Halfway through the glittering evening, organizers announced that $43,000 had already been raised, and counting.