Organization celebrates 40th anniversary

Desiree Bartoe

The Rev. Barry Lynn speaks at the Planned Parenthood of Summit, Portage and Medina Counties’ 40th anniversary dinner last night in the Sheraton Suites conference room in Cuyahoga Falls. Lynn is the executive director of Americans United for the Separation

Credit: John Proppe

Planned Parenthood of Summit, Portage and Medina counties celebrated its 40th Anniversary at the Sheraton Suites in Cuyahoga Falls last night.

The celebration, “Freedom of Choice, Fairness to All, Forward in Mission,” included a reception dinner, Margaret Sanger Society Award ceremony and keynote speaker the Rev. Barry Lynn.

Citizens of Summit County, including the National Council of Jewish Women and the Junior League of Akron, founded the chapter of Planned Parenthood in 1966.

“There was a growing recognition of the inequity of our nation at this time,” said Sue Kruder, honorary chairperson of the 40th anniversary celebration and member of the Capital Campaign Steering Committee.

Currently, Planned Parenthood is the only provider of subsidized, comprehensive family planning services in Summit, Portage and Medina counties, according to the Planned Parenthood Web site.

Kent’s Planned Parenthood provides health services for men and women, including HIV testing, testing and treatment of sexually transmitted infections, emergency contraception, pap smears, breast examinations and more.

“I see men around here (this reception), and I say ‘What the hell are you doing here?,'” said Paul Kruder, honorary chairperson, who also served as treasurer of the organization and later served as president of the Board of Trustees. “What the hell am I doing here? It is a women’s movement. Well, its not just a women’s fight; it is a fight for men and a fight for a person’s right.”

This year’s Margaret Sanger Award was presented to Mary Babcox’s family, Becky Babcox, Lucy Morris, Sarah Harrity, Tom Babcox Jr. and Bill Babcox.

“My mother always taught us to support Planned Parenthood, or as we used to call it around the house ‘PP,'” said Becky Babcox, who currently serves on Planned Parenthood’s Board of Directors. “We are honored to receive this award and we are honored to be a part of this organization.”

Contact social services reporter Desiree Bartoe at [email protected].