The spirit was festive at Thursday's "Food Fare," the annual fund-raiser of Los Angeles Planned Parenthood Guild. But little black ribbons pinned to guild members' red aprons were a sobering reminder that legalized abortion is an issue that is no stranger to violence.
The ribbons were worn in memory of David Gunn, the 47-year-old Florida doctor shot to death Wednesday during a protest outside his abortion clinic. Guild members said they were honoring a physician who had given his life to help women.
The guild's Sandy Pressman says she was in a rage when she heard about Gunn: "This man was murdered. I thought we should do something. What if we all wore black ribbons?" She bought ribbon and made 200 pin-ons.
Now, there is discussion within Planned Parenthood of having pins shaped like the ribbon made as a reminder.
"We have a history of picketing and harassment and bomb threats," says L.A. executive director Dr. Joan Babbott. Now, she says, "we've ratcheted up our alertness." But, she adds, the doctors and clinicians who perform abortions for Planned Parenthood "are all very committed and dedicated. . . . this makes them more committed."
Thursday's fund-raiser, at Riviera Country Club, drew 1,400 people, with gross proceeds estimated at $200,000.