A romantic evening in Paris was the theme of Maine Family Planning’s second annual fundraising event, the Birds & the Bees Soirée at the Portland Club last weekend. La Vie en Rose, a French jazz band from New York City, set the tone, complemented by French hors d’oeuvres from The Black Tie Company and sparkling cocktails.

“This venue is gorgeous,” said Leslie Mortimer, a soirée committee member.

One highlight of the evening was a drawing for a weeklong trip to Paris, won by Deborah Oliver of Camden. The Paris raffle alone grossed $12,000 toward the over $46,000 raised for Maine Family Planning, or MFP.

“It’s all about being able to provide services,” said Katrina Main-Dorsky, a nurse practitioner who specializes in clinical quality improvement.

MFP serves about 25,000 Mainers a year – women, men, and teens – at clinics statewide from Sanford to Calais.

“Tonight is a good opportunity for people who support our cause to socialize in a way that is fun,” said George Hill, president and CEO of MFP. “What we do day to day is intense, not only the medical part but the political part.”

“This is an opportunity for people to connect across various sectors,” said board chair Kathryn Vezina, who is both a nurse and a lawyer. “Everybody here shares the passion that women have reproductive justice – choices – in their lives. Maine Family Planning is a leading advocate for abortion services, but that isn’t the main impetus of our work. Our real work is making sure women have access to health care.”

“I have three little girls I’m raising in this world who need to know the mission is secure,” said Tina Duffany, development assistant for MFP. “The mission means a lot to everyone here. Everybody has a reproductive organ that they need taking care of. And women should have rights.”

“Deciding when to have a child is the biggest decision that a woman makes,” said Judy Kahrl, founder of Grandmothers for Reproductive Rights, or GRR!.

“Or that a family makes,” added Liz Hays, a member of the MFP board.

“Tonight is not only important for raising money, it’s to let people know about what we do,” said Carol Goetz, vice president for development. “There are people who fall in the gaps who may not qualify for Obamacare or Mainecare … and we’re known for having safe, confidential, expert care.”

“This is a great time to thank all our supporters and celebrate the work we do,” said Kate Brogan, vice president of public affairs. “We provide free and reduced-cost care for people who haven’t been able to get health insurance.”

MFP offers birth control, abortion care, testing and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, and preventative health services. In 2014, MFP provided more than 6,000 breast cancer screenings and nearly 4,000 Pap tests.

“The mission is huge and the funding is inadequate,” said Senior Vice President Evelyn Kieltyka.

Amy Paradysz is a freelance writer and photographer based in Scarborough. She can be contacted at:

[email protected]

 

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