Condom Couture Asheville, the signature event of Planned Parenthood South Atlantic in Western North Carolina, will celebrate its 5th anniversary on Saturday, March 11, at The Orange Peel in downtown Asheville. The Condom Couture fashion show is a fun and creative way to promote safe sex by featuring the wearable artwork of local designers. The designers must use a minimum of 500 condoms for their fashionable, wearable designs. All the finished pieces will be showcased on the runway in March, with proceeds benefiting Planned Parenthood South Atlantic.
“We are thrilled to host this incredibly fun and fashionable event at one of the area’s best venues,” said Nikki Harris, Planned Parenthood South Atlantic Director of Philanthropy for Western North Carolina. “After last year’s event sold out, we knew we could draw even more of the community in a fun, unique way to share how Planned Parenthood is serving our community. And we know that now, after the election, people are seeking out opportunities to support Planned Parenthood more than ever.”
Planned Parenthood South Atlantic has served patients at its health center in Asheville with compassionate, nonjudgmental care for over 35 years. Planned Parenthood, which celebrated its 100-year anniversary in October 2016, offers preventive health services such as lifesaving cancer screenings, breast health exams, STI testing and treatment, and birth control, and believes said services are basic health care for women, men, and teens, and access shouldn’t depend on their zip code or income. Last year, the Planned Parenthood health center in Asheville provided family planning services to almost 2,700 women, men and young people.
In recent years, birth control has become increasingly politicized. With the presidential election leaving many wondering if the Affordable Care Act might be repealed, and Planned Parenthood defunded, Planned Parenthoods across the country, including here in Asheville, have seen an increase in patients, with women specifically seeking more information about IUDs and LARC (long acting reversible contraception).
Many Planned Parenthood South Atlantic’s patients are Title X recipients, meaning, if they are uninsured — which 60 percent of their patients are — or fall below the federal poverty line, they can receive preventive services on a sliding scale based on their income.
Beyond birth control, safe and legal abortion is already becoming increasingly more difficult to access, with the election leaving even more people uncertain about its future. Planned Parenthood in Asheville is now Western North Carolina’s only abortion provider, yet one in three women will have an abortion at some point in her lifetime, and abortion has a 99 percent safety record. But even with this information, North Carolina has enacted a litany of restrictions on abortion, including a state-mandated script, sending ultrasound images to the government, and a 72-hour waiting period, which is the longest in the country.
“Planned Parenthood believes every woman should have access to the full range of reproductive health services, including safe and legal abortion. We pride ourselves on serving our community with compassionate care,” Caitlin Owens, Planned Parenthood South Atlantic Health Center Manager for Asheville, said. “This is a judgement-free zone.”
The center also offers transgender services, including female and male hormone replacement therapy (HRT). The HRT services Planned Parenthood provides stand out from other providers because of its “informed consent model,” which means that patients 18 or older can come to the health center and begin the transition process without documentation from psychiatrist, an inherently discriminatory and medically unnecessary measure. Documentation can be a barrier for care because it costs patients money, time and resources, which not every transgender patient has access to. It also adds to the stigma and misunderstanding that surrounds transgender people.
“We trust our patients to know what’s right for them,” Owens said. “Patients come as far as Tennessee, South Carolina and Georgia to access both abortion and transgender services, and we are proud to be a health care clinic that provides both of these services with high quality care,” Owens added.
Condom Couture Asheville will showcase all of the services and programs Planned Parenthood South Atlantic provides, the patients they serve, and its critical importance in the community. True to year’s past, there will be a VIP reception for sponsors in advance of the fashion show, as well as fun elements from last year’s event, including dance routines and performances throughout the show.
In the past, Planned Parenthood has auctioned off the couture costumes, but this year attendees will have the chance to purchase raffle tickets in order to decide the winner.
“We are excited to incorporate this new aspect of the event so that everyone who attends can be involved in the show,” Harris said.
Seats for the show are $50, standing room for $20 and sponsorship (which includes our VIP reception) begins at $150.
For sponsorship information, please contact Nikki Harris at 828-252-7928 ext. 6237
For more information about Condom Couture visit: https://www.condomcoutureavl.org
For more information about Planned Parenthood South Atlantic visit: https://www.plannedparenthood.org/planned-parenthood-south-atlantic