A casual dinner in Seattle with the CEO of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky turned into a full-fledged fundraiser, as locals wanted to help.
It was just supposed to be a couple dozen people for dinner at the home of Marc Firmani and his wife, Joy Portella.
Then word spread about the guest of honor, and things got completely out of hand.
“People we don’t even know were calling and asking, ‘Can we bring 10 people?’ ” Firmani said the other day.
And that is how a low-key visit to Seattle by Betty Cockrum, the CEO of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky (PPINK), turned into a full-blown fundraiser for the nonprofit, which has been a favorite target of former Gov. Mike Pence, now vice president of the United States of America.
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Those who support a woman’s right to choose have wondered for months now what they can do to soothe the wounds of losing the November election to Pence and his president, Donald J. Trump.
Cockrum, 63, perfectly fits the bill. She knew long before the rest of the country that the new administration would want to control women’s reproductive health. She has served at PPINK for 15 years now and seen, firsthand, how Pence feels about a woman’s right to choose.
In his view, she shouldn’t have one at all.
In 2007, when Pence was a U.S. representative, he sponsored the first-ever bill to defund Planned Parenthood, and did so repeatedly through 2011, when it finally passed the House.
Once elected governor, Pence cut public funding to PPINK by more than $1 million, and in his abbreviated term as governor, he signed eight anti-abortion bills into law.
Within days after voters sent Pence to the White House, some 7,000 people from around the country donated to PPINK — part of an “unprecedented” 80,000-gift surge nationally — in his name.
Cockrum counted every gift — $270,000 so far — and was sure to show her…