By Darla Shelden
Planned Parenthood of Central Oklahoma (PPCO) was recently recognized by the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) with an Affiliate Excellence Award for Marketing and Advertising at the National Conference held in Washington D.C.
PPCO CEO Anita Fream said, “Our Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative, now in its seventh year, was designed to encourage sexually active teens aged 15-19 in Oklahoma County to use Planned Parenthood services to prevent unintended pregnancies.
“The goal was to reach older teens with messages focusing on the availability of contraceptive counseling and services for the prevention of unintended pregnancies.”
Planned Parenthood’s national and local leaders and supporters from across the country attended the dinner to honor the champions of women’s health. Fream and Parks represented Oklahoma City.
On Thursday, April 25, during the conference, President Barack Obama surprised many attendees when he delivered the keynote address at the annual gala dinner, themed “Time for Care.”
“It was a great thrill to hear President Obama speak in person — the first time a sitting President has spoken before a Planned Parenthood audience,” said Fream. “ His commitment to women’s health was so inspiring, and he gave us hope that the welfare of women and families matters in Washington. We’d certainly love to see this continue.”
President Obama defended Planned Parenthood and told the audience that he would stand by them and block any effort to cut funding for the organization.
President Obama said, “No matter how great the challenge, no matter how fierce the opposition, there’s one thing the past years have shown. It’s that Planned Parenthood is not going anywhere. It’s not going anywhere today, it’s not going anywhere tomorrow.
“As long as we’ve got to fight to make sure that women have access to quality, affordable healthcare, and as long as we’ve got to fight for a women to make her own choices, about her own health, I want you to know that you’ve got a President that’s going to be right there with you, fighting every step of the way.
President Obama thanked the doctors, nurses, advocates and staff who work tirelessly for what Planned Parenthood offers.
Obama pointed out that one in five women in America has turned to Planned Parenthood for health care, and for many, Planned Parenthood is their primary source of health care. Not just for contraceptive care, but for lifesaving preventive care, like cancer screenings and health counseling.
“No insurer should get to decide what kind of care you get,” President Obama told the audience. “The only person who should get to make decisions about your health is you.”
Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America said, “President Obama has done more than any president in history for women’s health and rights. He understands that access to birth control and preventive health care are economic issues for women and their families.”
Richards added, “We are honored to have President Obama join us at our ‘Time for Care’ Gala at this pivotal moment for women’s health.
“We fought alongside him to ensure that women’s health access was expanded in the landmark Affordable Care Act, and now we have to fight hard to ensure that the full promise of health care reform is realized for millions of women.”
At the event, hosted by new Planned Parenthood Youth Ambassador Rocsi Diaz of Entertainment Tonight, Dr. Ruth K. Westheimer was presented with PPFA’s highest honor, the Margaret Sanger Award.
Westheimer was recognized for her lifelong commitment to empowering women and men to talk openly and honestly about sex and sexual health.
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was honored with the “Care. No Matter What.” Award for his dedication to protecting women’s health care in the City of Los Angeles.
The evening also featured a special Maggie Award for Media Excellence honoring Lena Dunham, star of HBO’s Girls, for her true to life portrayal of the complex issues facing young women today.
A special Partner of the Year Award was presented to Tumblr.
The evening closed with a performance from Grammy Award-winning recording artist Estelle, known for her work supporting women and disadvantaged youth worldwide, through her foundation All of Me.
“Our hope is to be here offering high-quality, affordable health care to the women and families of Oklahoma for a very long time,” said Fream. “With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, we see an opportunity to provide a wider range of services to our clients, from a name they know they can trust.”
Formed in 1916 the Planned Parenthood Federation of America is the nation’s leading women’s reproductive health care provider. For more information, visit www.ppcook.org.
Local Planned Parenthood honored at national conference featuring keynote speaker President Obama
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