It’s Politics. It’s Personal. It’s Choice: the Roe v. Wade 39th Anniversary Dinner

This piece was cross-posted from Blog For Choice, NARAL Pro-Choice America

Last night, NARAL Pro-Choice America hosted our Roe v. Wade 39th anniversary dinner. The event brought together pro-choice stars from the political, activist, and entertainment worlds.

The theme for this year’s event was “It’s Politics. It’s Personal. It’s Choice.” Our brilliant speakers weaved this theme into the evening’s celebrations, and drew upon the importance of connecting personal experiences with all that’s going on in the political arena.

Susie Essman, who played the sassy Susie Greene for all seven seasons of the critically-acclaimed HBO comedy series, “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” was our mistress of ceremonies.

Susie’s opening remarks drew a standing ovation–especially after she highlighted the dangers women face should any of the anti-choice Republican candidates for president win in November:

If any of these candidates reach the White House the only way to protect my reproductive rights will be to declare my womb a corporation.

Rosalyn Levy Jonas, board chair of NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation, also shared a personal story about seeking abortion care as a young woman, and then later, starting a family with her husband. In a moving call to action, she invited the guests to stand if they or someone they knew had ever sought abortion care.

The entire room stood.

“We do not wear scarlet letters,” she said. True.

It’s that personal element that underscores the importance of our political movement: the basic notion that women–the women we know–are the ones best equipped to make the personal, private decision that is right for them and their families.

We honored the D.C. Abortion Fund with our 2012 Champion of Choice Award. The D.C. Abortion Fund is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization that makes grants and no-interest loans to D.C.-area women who cannot afford the full cost of abortion care. Read more about this amazing organization.

Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, put into stark relief the contrast between President Obama’s pro-choice administration and a potential anti-choice Republican one:

Just last week, the Obama administration stood up to intense lobbying from anti-contraception groups and made a decision that will guarantee insurance coverage of birth control without a copay for millions of American women. This is a huge victory.

Every time a woman goes to the pharmacy and picks up her birth control without a copay we are reminded of why it matters to have a friend in the White House.

The bottom line: ELECTIONS MATTER.

That’s why I believe that, at the end of the day, our determination will crush their anti-choice hypocrisy.

At NARAL Pro-Choice America, we are ready for the battle of 2012.

And speaking of 2012, the event’s keynote speaker was Patrick Murphy, a former two-term U.S. representative from Pennsylvania. Patrick was one of our brightest pro-choice stars in the House.

Patrick was the first Iraq War veteran to be elected to Congress, and was a professor of constitutional law at West Point–not the sort of guy our anti-choice opponents relish going up against when debating a woman’s fundamental, constitutional right to privacy.

He rallied the room to action in 2012:

Because of you, we have a President that worked with Congress to make sure women have access to contraceptives.

Because of you we had a Congress that said being a woman is no longer going to be considered a pre-existing condition.

We’re going to look back on this election and say: “that was the turning point.”

Let’s keep fighting to make sure it’s a turning point in the right direction.

We’re only getting started. We’ll fight every day in 2012 to make sure that this is the year we stop the War on Women.

Paid for by NARAL Pro-Choice America,, and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.

Check photos from the event here.

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