Pennsylvania Chili Cookoff Fires Up Outrage With Planned Parenthood Donation

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 4, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pennsylvania Chili Cookoff Fires Up Outrage With Planned Parenthood Donation

by Maria Gallagher Staff Writer
February 4, 2004

West Chester, PA ( — A chili fundraiser for a Pennsylvania Planned Parenthood affiliate is in extremely poor taste, according to pro-life leaders. The event has local pro-life advocates fired up and a number of local elected officials who took part are now the subject of controversy.

Last week, several public officials took part in the Red Hot Chili Cook-Off, a benefit for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Chester County, Inc.

“It’s outrageous in that they’re cooking chili and money is going to offer women abortions,” said Kathy Bond, a pro-life leader in southeastern Pennsylvania.

According to the Daily Local News, about 200 people attended the fundraiser, which was billed as a non-partisan event. Those present tasted chili that had been prepared by various public officials or their representatives.

The scene was festive with people milling about a fire hall decorated with sombreros, cowboy boots, cactuses, and lights in the form of red chili peppers.

“They’re celebrating and yet the lives of women are being terribly abused and burdened by abortion,” Bond said. “And besides that we have the loss of 43 million babies” from abortion over the last 31 years, Bond added.

Republicans won top honors in Planned Parenthood’s chili-making contest, capturing first, second, and third place prizes.

Chester County Republican jury commissioner Sandra Moser won first place for her “Firehouse Chili,” while State Rep. Chris Ross of East Marlborough won second place for his “Winter Blues Bourbon Chili.”

The third place award went to representatives of pro-abortion Senator Arlen Specter for a recipe dubbed “Arlen’s Ten Alarm Texas Chili.”

Some pro-life leaders are especially concerned about Republican dominance at the Planned Parenthood fundraiser, given the fact that the GOP’s national platform is pro-life.

Rep. Ross told the Daily Local News he did not think that the issue of abortion would overshadow this year’s political contests. “It’s certainly an issue,” Ross told the newspaper. “But there are so many things going on that it will be an issue, rather than the issue.”

A representative of Planned Parenthood, Tomasina Chamberlain, also downplayed the role abortion would play in the upcoming election.

“I think people usually vote the wallet issues first,” Chamberlain told the newspaper. She claimed that jobs and health care will dominate the political agenda.

But Chamberlain also chastised pro-life President George W. Bush, telling the newspaper, “We really do need people to think about the choice issue when they go to the ballot. Family planning will be in jeopardy if Bush gets the White House again.”

The President, who has been endorsed by National Right to Life, has supported a number of pro-life initiatives, from the ban on partial-birth abortion to Laci and Conner’s Law, which would recognize unborn children as victims when a federal crime of violence is committed against their pregnant mothers.

Meanwhile, pro-abortion Republicans took the opportunity to attack fellow Republican Pat Toomey, a pro-life Congressman who is taking on Specter in the GOP primary in April.

State Rep. Carole Rubley (R) of Tredyffrin, told the Daily Local News that Toomey had “no chance” of winning enough support in the area to capture the Republican nomination.

But pro-life leader Kathy Bond strongly disagrees. She notes that a recent breakfast for Toomey attracted some 200 people who are eager to see him elected to Specter’ seat.

“(Toomey) is gaining support by leaps and bounds,” Bond said.

The winner of the Specter-Toomey race is likely to face U.S. Rep. Joseph Hoeffel (D) of Montgomery County in the fall. Representatives of Hoeffel, who is pro-abortion, attended the Planned Parenthood event as well.

Pro-life leaders in Pennsylvania say that Planned Parenthood is responsible for a substantial share of the more than 35,000 abortions which took place in Pennsylvania in 2002, the latest year for which statistics are available.

And, even though Planned Parenthood officials often claim they want to reduce abortion, Planned Parenthood remains the largest abortion operation in the U.S.