Thank you all supporters of NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland’s 31st Annual Evening of Chocolate Gala!
The Evening of Chocolate Gala is our signature event of the year, where supporters of reproductive freedom in Maryland step up and support the policy and political arm of the movement. This year, we honored Attorney General Brian Frosh, a true champion for reproductive rights. The event was a combination of videos honoring Brian, messages about reproductive freedom from our sponsors, highlights about our work, and a live stream portion featuring Brian in which event attendees could hop on online to watch and cheer. Chocolate desserts, refreshing beverages, and swag were delivered to sponsors (many donated to clinics), as well as ticketholders.
Recognizing the potential that could be done by the Trump/Pence administration in violating the basic rights of Marylanders, Attorney General Brian Frosh sought through the Maryland General Assembly in 2017 the ability to directly confront federal agencies in interfering with these rights, such as access to medical care. The Maryland General Assembly passed legislation giving the state attorney general that authority, as well as funding to adequately support his office in these actions.
Attorney General Frosh joined 12 other state attorneys general to protect the Maryland health insurance markets in a lawsuit that challenged the Trump/Pence administration’s decision to allow employers to deny coverage in employee healthcare coverage for contraceptive methods and birth control by citing religious or moral objections.
After the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared that clinics would be denied Title X funding if they offered abortion care or referred patients for abortion care, Attorney General Frosh joined 30 other attorneys general in a lawsuit to challenge the rule.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a rule that dramatically expanded the ability of businesses and individuals to refuse to provide necessary healthcare based on religious and moral convictions, such as contraception, sterilization, pregnancy options counseling, abortion care, and end-of-life care. Attorney General Frosh joined a coalition of 21 attorneys general in filing an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court that supported Pennsylvania in its case in defending contraceptive coverage and counseling mandated under the Affordable Care act.
In January 2020, Attorney General Frosh issued an opinion, revisiting Maryland’s codification of the Roe v. Wade ruling in 1991, that expands access to abortion care by giving advanced medical practitioner the authority to provide patients with medication abortion.
For these reasons, and many others, NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland honored Attorney General Brian Frosh with the 2020 Choice Advocate of the Year Award. Congratulations, Brian, and thank you for all you do! Thank you also to those who stepped up to make live toasts at the event: Senator Will Smith, Planned Parenthood of Maryland CEO Karen Nelson, Senator Brian Feldman, Senator Mary Washington, Delegate Bonnie Cullison, Maryland NOW President Sandy Bell, Delegate Regina Boyce, and Delegate Terri Hall.
Here are pre-taped segments from the virtual gala:
If you are familiar with our organization, then you know that there are two ways to support our affiliate’s work: by giving to the 501(c)3 arm, The NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland Fund, where your tax deductible donation supports the outreach, organizing, policy research advocacy work we do. You may also choose to give to our 501(c)4 arm, NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland, where your contribution (which is not tax deductible), supports our lobby and political work.
Many of our initiatives are multi-year projects. Improving or increasing access to care and rights may include strategies such as policy research, public awareness campaigns, professional training, and development of best practices protocols, which are the focus of the 501(c)3 organization. If desired change or reform is not achieved, the results of that work inform the agenda of our 501(c)4 entity to pursue regulatory, policy, or legislative initiatives.
Our affiliate engages in 8 issue campaigns developed to protect and further reproductive health, rights, and justice:
- Addressing deceptive advertising and practices of anti-choice crisis pregnancy centers
- Improving sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights in public schools
- Improving sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights on public college campuses
- Parenting with dignity and in economic security
- Advocating for those in the care/custody/control of the state
- Improving maternal health outcomes
- Furthering access to contraception
- Protecting and advancing access to abortion care
Tax deductible sponsorships to the Evening of Chocolate Gala this year will support the Jonathan Shurberg Legal & Policy Research Internship Fund, the Reproductive Justice Inside Coalition, and our newly launched statewide Access Team Initiative. Contributions to the 501(c)4 will support our work for the upcoming 2021 Maryland General Assembly and our goal to create a new position for a membership and political director to guide us through the 2022 election cycle.