On May 2nd, Planned Parenthood celebrated 100 years with a star-studded centennial gala that featured the one-and-only Hillary Clinton and honored Shonda Rhimes. Meryl Streep, America Ferrera, Tina Fey, Julianne Moore, Annette Bening, Diane von Furstenberg, and many other PP supporters all showed up to see comedian Chelsea Handler open the event with a Donald Trump roast before watching Clinton receive the “Champion of the Century” award from organization president, Cecile Richards. On stage, the former Secretary of State gave a rousing speech that focused on the tremendous gains that Planned Parenthood has made over the years (unintended pregnancies are a 30-year-low, teen pregnancies and abortions are at a forty-year-low) but urged the crowd not to forget the battle at hand, citing The Handmaid’s Tale as a warning.
She stated, “I’m not suggesting this dystopian future is around the corner, but this show has prompted important conversations about women’s rights and autonomy…As one character says, ‘We didn’t look up from our phones until it was too late.’ It’s not too late for us. We have to encourage the millions of women and men to keep fighting.” The Handmaid’s Tale is a novel that features author Margaret Atwood’s vision of a terrifying future in which reproduction is not a right but a duty and women are simply concubines on command. The book was recently made into a series on Hulu and debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival. Clinton also spoke about the election and why women’s reproductive rights matter to her saying:
“Now I sometimes I am asked why I care so deeply about these issues. I always find it a bewildering question for me. We’ll start with … I’m a woman, mother, grandmother, and much to the surprise of many, I am a human being. I am also a person of faith who doesn’t take my decisions lightly. My views have been shaped by my experiences.” -Hillary Clinton
Shonda Rhimes was presented with a the “Champion of Change” award at the gala. The “screenwriter and producer is a Planned Parenthood board member and has dealt with abortion on her hit television shows, Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal. The night also featured a silent auction fundraiser during which Harvey Weinstein bought an $80,000 painting by Cecily Brown. During her acceptance speech she explained how her television work is an “attempt to reflect the world” but that that isn’t enough to enact change. She promised to try harder, saying, I will do my part. I will do champion-y things. As hard as I can. I will CONSCIOUSLY make an effort to do champion-y things. Because what I did before, that was me at half-speed. Me at full speed? Get out of the way, please.”
In other PP news, the minds behind Seven Inches for Planned Parenthood have released a clip for a new Chvrches song included in the box set. Watch the Kristen Stewart directed video for “Down Side of Me” below.
-Jasmine Williams for The Untitled Magazine