Savannah Plan C Bake Sale to Benefit Planned Parenthood

Natasha Gaskill vividly remembers a week in her 16th year. She had two doctor’s appointments – one to fill a cavity, the other to abort an unplanned and unwanted pregnancy.

For Natasha, neither procedure was more traumatic than the other.

“It was okay. You have to normalize that (an abortion) is literally health care,” said Gaskill, now a mother of two and owner of A Squad Bakeshop and founder of Plan C: Cookies. for Choice, an annual bake sale that raises money for Planned Parenthood Southeast in Savannah.

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While the Supreme Court decision that could overturn Roe v. Wade — the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision that ruled women have the right to abort pre-viability (24 weeks) without undue state interference — draws closer, Savannah bakers rally for the Plan C’s third annual bake sale, where nearly 30 volunteer bakers sell 200 boxes of assorted cookies in support of reproductive rights and access to safe abortions.

Gaskill started the fundraiser in 2019 after hearing about it in Atlanta, and decided to start one in Savannah as the political agenda shifted toward restricting access to abortions nationwide.

Gaskill said Roe’s possible upset against Wade, revealed in a verified Politico leak, reminded her of how she felt when former President Donald Trump was in office from 2017 to 2021.

“Women don’t matter. Our opinions don’t matter about our bodies. It doesn’t matter what we choose to do with our bodies,” Gaskill said. “You feel invisible in this conversation that revolves around what’s inside your body.”

Jaquie Reis helps wrap cookies as a volunteer in preparation for the Cookies for Choice Planned Parenthood Southeast fundraiser.

If the court votes to overturn the 1973 decision returning the decision to individual states, a state law could take effect in Georgia that would ban any abortions past six weeks or when a fetal heartbeat is detected. The 2019 law is being challenged in Superior Court and a decision on its legality will likely be made after the Supreme Court vote this summer.

Last year, Plan C raised $20,000 for the local Planned Parenthood clinic, which provides affordable and safe reproductive services, including gynecological exams, birth control, mammograms and abortions, in the area of Savannah-Chatham. Nearly 30 chefs and restaurants participated, but the numbers have dropped this year.

Gaskill said the low turnout stems from staffing issues plaguing the restaurant industry and the online targeting of some experienced chefs after their attendance last year.

Over 25 local bakers baked a variety of cookies for the Plan C: Cookies for Choice fundraiser for Planned Parenthood Southeast.

“There was just a lot of damnation and appeals to our character,” Gaskill said of some of the backlash they received last year. “But I don’t care.”

Private chef Rubi McGrory almost skipped this year’s event, but decided to whip up his pandemic-era recipe for “jam shortbread”.

“Pastry is my superpower,” McGrory said. “I’m not the kind of person who really feels comfortable standing in front of a crowd and pissing them off or anything like that. I’m not the kind of person who’s going to go out and engage in hardcore debates with people is a way for me to use my skills.”

Volunteers stack prepared boxes for the Cookies for Choice fundraiser to benefit Planned Parenthood Southeast.

Cookies from 23 local chefs at restaurants like Savoy Society, The Gray and Sea Wolf on Tybee will fill boxes selling for $60. Boxes are pre-sold online, but any extras will be sold at the event tent at the Saturday Forsyth Farmer’s Market. T-shirts designed by local artist Panhandle Slim will also be on sale. All proceeds will go to Planned Parenthood Southeast.

Activist-based bake sales are a national trend right now, Gaskill said. Bakers Against Racism is a Baltimore, Maryland-based fundraiser that raises money for racial equity and, more recently, to provide relief to Ukraine. This year, Gaskill hopes their money can be used to ensure that the protections granted in Roe v. Wade are cemented in federal law, which President Joe Biden, D, has pledged to help accomplish.

Volunteers put the finishing touches on boxes for Plan C: Cookies for Choice, a fundraiser to benefit Planned Parenthood Southeast.

“We’re trying to figure out how we turn this from something so volatile that can be taken away into something that can’t be taken away anymore,” Gaskill said. “And it’s going to take money.”

The event was unplanned following the news Roe v. Wade last week, Gaskill said. It’s always Mother’s Day weekend.

“It’s totally on purpose, because motherhood should be a choice.”

Zoe covers growth and its impact on communities in the Savannah area. Find her at znicholson@gannett.com, @zoenicholson_ on Twitter and @zoenicholsonreporter on Instagram.


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