If watching a gaggle of the country's most arrogant, clueless and regressive men discuss the reproductive fates of millions of American women — with almost no input from women themselves (apparently, we aren't “qualified”) — left you utterly appalled, perhaps you'll want to attend the annual Planned Parenthood Food Fare. The headliner is chef Suzanne Goin (Lucques, A.O.C., Tavern) along with an enviable roster of kitchen talent including Susan Feniger (Border Grill, Street), Alain Giraud (Maison Giraud), Brendan Collins (Waterloo & City), Bryant Ng (Spice Table), Gino Angelini (Angelini Osteria) and many more.

Why is funding for Planned Parenthood and birth control important? If the fracas with the Susan G. Komen Foundation didn't convince you, maybe this will.

Today, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is holding a panel to discuss the birth control mandate in President Obama's Affordable Care Act. How many women are on this eight-person committee, which is chaired by San Diego/Riverside County Rep. Darrell Issa? Zero. How many women has the committee allowed to testify? Zero.

This isn't the 18th century or some repressive third-world theocracy. This is the USA in the year 2012. It would be a joke if it weren't so frighteningly and depressingly real.

Given how thoroughly they oppose abortion, you'd think these men would be huge supporters of birth control — the No. 1 best way to prevent abortions. Think again.

As Sarah Posner reports in Religion Dispatches, before walking out in protest, Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York said, “What I want to know is, where are the women? I look at this panel, and I don't see one single individual representing the tens of millions of women across the country who want and need insurance coverage for basic preventive health-care services, including family planning. Where are the women?”

Issa, a Republican, has refused to allow the Democrats to call any witnesses, including Sandra Fluke, a student at Georgetown, a prominent Catholic university. As Posner writes: “Had she been permitted to testify, said Fluke, she would have discussed the stories of Georgetown employees who are denied birth control coverage, including a woman who has lost an ovary because she was even denied coverage for a pill not even needed for contraceptive, but for medical purposes.” Issa's reasoning: Fluke was “not qualified.”

Who's more qualified than Darrell Issa to make decisions about birth control? Every woman on the planet.

Why is it important to show support for Planned Parenthood? Because even in the year 2012, grandstanding morons like Issa are working hard to roll back the clock on reproductive freedoms and impose an oppressive, extremist, anti-choice agenda on millions of American women.

WHAT: Planned Parenthood Food Fare

WHEN: 10:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. & 6:30 – 9:30 p.m., March 8

WERE: Santa Monica Civic Auditorium

COST: $150-225

Follow Squid Ink at @LAWeeklyFood and check out our Facebook page. Follow the author at @ElinaShatkin or contact her at eshatkin@laweekly.com.

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