Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest will hold its 53rd Anniversary Dinner on Wednesday, March 30, at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront. The “Fearless Voices” event will celebrate reproductive health advocates and supporters, and help raise funds for the safe, affordable and quality care that Planned Parenthood provides.
“Now, more than ever, is the time to proclaim our solidarity with Planned Parenthood,” said Rancho Santa Fe’s Rosette Garcia, chair of this year’s event with her husband Dan Kisner. “We are enthusiastic about celebrating the undaunted spirit of Planned Parenthood at the Anniversary Dinner, and uniting with other fearless voices in a chorus of support for this organization that provides vital reproductive health care services to thousands of people in our region, provides fact-based sex education and advocates for these rights for all.”
Garcia and Kisner are very excited about the guest speakers they were fortunate enough to get for the March 30 event — they said both promise to be incredibly inspiring and educational.
Guest speaker Carole Joffe, Ph.D., a professor at UC San Francisco’s Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health, will speak about the resilience of Planned Parenthood in the face of great challenges. Joffe is considered one of the most compelling voices in the field of reproductive health and politics, and an expert on the history of abortion in the U.S.
Guest speaker Dr. Willie Parker, the last abortion provider in the state of Mississippi, will offer attendees a unique perspective about his work providing abortions to women in states where anti-abortion extremists have made it nearly impossible for women to access care. Parker was recently featured in the Sundance Film Festival’s award-winning documentary “Trapped,” which details the struggle Parker and other abortion providers in the South endure.
Parker will also be presented with the first annual Fearless Voice Award.
“We’re giving it to him because of his unwavering commitment to women’s reproductive rights,” Garcia said. “He is working to make sure women get the care they want, need and deserve to get.”
Parker is currently a plantiff in the lawsuit before the U.S. Supreme Court challenging the Texas law that reduced the number of abortion clinics in the state.
“This is a person who takes a risk every day he goes to work, he is an outspoken advocate for women, ” Kisner said. “We live in a much more favorable environment, he lives in possibly the most hostile environment in the country and he talks eloquently about it.”
Garcia and Kisner have been married almost 31 years and moved to San Diego in 1991.
Kisner is an internist and medical oncologist with a long career in the development of new pharmaceuticals to treat human disease. He is currently a consultant to the biotechnology industry and, in that capacity, sits on four public biotech company boards.
Garcia is devoted to causes that benefit woman and children. She has worked with the San Diego Women’s Foundation, served as a trustee on the Cardiff School District board, and currently serves on the philanthropy committee at Planned Parenthood.
“As a feminist, I’ve always believed in reproductive rights and reproductive justice,” she said.
The couple became active supporters of Planned Parenthood over a decade ago when anti-abortion activists infiltrated their Unitarian Universalist church to disrupt the talk of the invited guest, then-CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest, Mark Salo.
The local chapter of Planned Parenthood of Pacific Southwest serves San Diego, Riverside and Imperial Counties with 19 clinics across the three counties. The chapter served about 140,000 women, men and teens last year — one in three households in San Diego County has a current or former patient of Planned Parenthood.
“We provide under-served communities access to birth control, STD (sexually transmitted diseases) tests and treatments, cervical cancer screenings and breast exams, rapid HIV testing, emergency contraception and abortion services,” said Cita Walsh, vice president of marketing and communications. “We rely heavily on donations to support what we do every day and to expand into more underserved areas. That’s why it’s so critical for Planned Parenthood to reach out to the community to find people to support us with their voices, their time or their money.”
As a physician, Kisner feels that the “life-saving” cancer screenings, as well as the STD screenings are some of the most important services that they offer. He worries about Planned Parenthood clinics coming under fire and being forced to close and the potential of women losing access to all the services he feels the organization does so well.
Last year Planned Parenthood also provided age-appropriate sexual and reproductive health education and information to more than 66,000 people through schools and local community events.
“No organization does more than Planned Parenthood to prevent the need for abortion through the birth control services and sex education they provide,” Garcia said.
The March 30 event will also be a celebration of the Pacific Southwest affiliate’s accomplishments this year, including new clinics opening in Vista and Imperial County, and the remodel and expansion of its Chula Vista facility.
For more information or to buy tickets, visit planned.org/dinner.