Hundreds of guests gathered at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City for the annual gala celebration of the work of the Center for Reproductive Rights.
On a crisp fall evening in New York City, more than 350 guests gathered in the elegant lobby of the Museum of Modern Art for the annual celebration of the work of the Center for Reproductive Rights. The gala event raised nearly one million dollars to support our fight for reproductive freedom.
The festive crowd came together to not only take stock of the Center’s hard-won accomplishments but also to celebrate the inspirational work of three highly deserving honorees: international human rights law pioneer Colin Gonsalves, Dr. Sharon Malone, and former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.
Among the event’s attendees were donors, care providers, coalition partners, attorneys, and a host of socially engaged celebrities—including Girls star Jemima Kirke, Darren Criss of Glee, Kimiko Glenn and Emma Myles of Orange Is the New Black, and writer/performer Sarah Sophie Flicker, among others.
Holder, Malone, and Gonsalves each spoke to the importance of empowering women to determine the path of their own lives—and the crucial role that the Center plays in using the law to accomplish that.
“Bureaucrats who draft legislation that infantilizes women are unacceptable,” noted Malone in her impassioned remarks. “We must draw the line.”
Holder also put the ongoing fight for accessible care in stark terms: “What we see in this country is a continuing battle for basic human rights.”
Reflecting on his longstanding partnership with the Center as the head of the Human Rights Law Network, Gonsalves said, “I am so proud to stand with the Center and to raise my voice for justice for every woman across the world.”
‘Tonight we raise our voices for the women and girls from here to the farthest corners of the world,” said Center president and CEO Nancy Northup in her remarks. “For the girls in South Asia forced into child marriage, for the women in the Rio Grande Valley who are rising up to demand their rights and access to essential health care, for women worldwide who have the audacity to expect that they can live their lives with dignity and equality, make decisions that are right for them, and determine their own futures.”
Speaking up and out about the importance of reproductive health care in women’s lives isn’t just for high-profile people like the evening’s honorees—it’s a key part of the work we can all do moving forward to ensure that the wide-ranging implications of reproductive autonomy are acknowledged in the national and global conversation.
“We all need to start talking—openly and without apology—about the critical importance of women’s access to the full range of reproductive health care. To contraception, to quality maternal care, to sex education, and, yes, to safe and legal abortion,” said Northup. “And we need to talk about the difference that having access to reproductive health care has made in our own lives. And in the lives of our loved ones.”
The upsurge of support at the gala could not come at a more momentous time, as the Center gears up for a historic showdown on the national stage. In the coming weeks we will likely hear if the U.S. Supreme Court will review our case against the devastating clinic shutdown law HB2 in Texas—a case that will define whether access to safe and legal abortion will be protected or eroded across this country for generations to come.
“The stakes for our constitutional rights could not be higher,” said Northup. “And it is what we all do tomorrow, and the day after, and in the months to come that is going to make a difference.”
Thanks to the inspiration and generosity of the evening, we are today one step closer to a world where reproductive freedom is universally valued as an inalienable human right.