Every Decision Has a Story: the Roe v. Wade 40th Anniversary Dinner
Last night, NARAL Pro-Choice America hosted our Roe v. Wade 40th anniversary dinner. This year's event was particularly special, with Nancy Keenan giving her final address and Ilyse Hogue making her first speech as president of NARAL Pro-Choice America.
"Women are thinking bigger thoughts and dreaming bigger dreams for our families and for our futures than ever before. But we cannot do that unless our foundational rights are secured. And those foundational rights will not be secure until we challenge our political leaders to match policy to the real lives of real women today."
Check out a few of the great photos from the event:
Ross Mathews of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and E!'s hit late-night talk show, Chelsea Lately, was our emcee for the evening, and had everyone laughing away:
"Am I crazy? It's 2013, not 1913, right? Let's get real. We are all here tonight because we share a deep common value: a belief in women's freedom and privacy."
This year's event theme was "Every Decision Has a Story." We introduced our new campaign Choice Out Loud, and shared its first initiative, "40," a stop-motion film of 40 pro-choice faces photographed by an incredible range of advertising, fashion, editorial and news photographers.
Stories were front and center this year. Dana Weinstein shared a heartbreaking story about receiving the diagnosis of a severe fetal abnormality late in her much-wanted pregnancy. Dana explained how difficult it was to get the care she needed. Ever since her tragic experience, Dana has been a courageous advocate for protecting a woman's right to choose:
"I am deeply grateful to NARAL and the women and men just a generation before mine - many of whom are in this room tonight - who fought for decades to gain abortion rights. Your support of the pro-choice movement made it possible for me to have a choice about what was right for my family. And now, it is my generation and the ones that follow that need to raise our voices, become involved, and actively join this fight."
Of course we know that electing pro-choice leaders is the best way to protect this right. That's why we were thrilled to have scores of pro-choice members of Congress in the room including Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D - IL), who introduced Nancy Keenan.
Our surprise guest is also working hard to protect choice for women. President Barack Obama sent a video thanking Nancy Keenan and NARAL Pro-Choice America, and welcoming Ilyse Hogue to the organization. Watch it here:
Our keynote speaker, Stephanie Cutter, deputy director of the 2012 Obama campaign, spoke about the importance of political action and the challenges that lie ahead. She thanked Nancy Keenan for her dedicated work over the last eight years and welcomed Ilyse Hogue:
"It was the way we responded, rose up and rallied together that made this past year so remarkable. It was the fact that we didn't just make this a question of choice; it was a question of respect and independence. It wasn't just political, it was personal.
Ilyse, as you grab the torch that is being passed to you, I know you'll be bringing with you a unique understanding of the power of grassroots organizing and the power of our voices. And I want you to know that we have your back."
The audience agreed with thunderous applause.
We couldn't be more grateful for the opportunity to hear remarks from such an amazing group of pro-choice leaders and activists. And we're ready to take on the anti-choice challenges that lie ahead.