Volume 13, Issue 83  |  October 15, 2021

Urgent reproductive rights discussion next up for Democratic Club meeting

On the heels of the Women’s March for Reproductive Health, the Laguna Beach Democratic Club is hosting two executive women’s physicians and a Planned Parenthood officer to discuss the legal, medical and psychological issues around state-level abortion bans. The meeting takes place on Wednesday, Oct. 13 at 7 p.m. on Zoom. The public is welcome to attend.

The featured speakers are Tabetha Harken, M.D., a University of California Irvine (UCI) professor; Allyson Brooks, M.D., executive director of the Hoag Institute for Women’s Health; and Sadaf Rahmani, public affairs director of Planned Parenthood Orange and San Bernardino counties. They will discuss the state of women’s reproductive rights in our area and across the country.   Notably, California physicians and hospitals are receiving women from states with restricted abortion rights.

Dr. Harken is a professor and the division director of Family Planning in the department of OB/GYN at UCI. She earned a Master of Public Health from George Washington School of Public Health and her medical degree from the University of Colorado. During a fellowship from University of California, she worked abroad in two countries that had recently legalized abortion services and witnessed firsthand the necessity of legalization for the protection of women’s health. She dedicated herself to the expansion of reproductive health services at UCI, training UCI residents in family planning, directing the residency training program in abortion and contraception and creating the UCI Division of Family Planning which has become a referral center for high-risk family planning patients. She has won teaching awards, research grants and leadership positions during her tenure at UCI. Dr. Harken continues to provide direct clinical care, advocate for the sexual and reproductive rights of all people and teach residents and students. She is an expert on the impact on women’s health of legal/political threats to Roe vs Wade.

Dr. Brooks is the Ginny Ueberroth executive medical director witnessed first-hand endowed chair and chief quality officer for the Hoag Women’s Health Institute. She has led Hoag in being named a Becker’s Top 100 Hospital with Excellent Women’s Health programs and a 37th U.S. News & World Report ranking in Gynecology with a Center of Excellence in robotic surgery. She has developed comprehensive programs in maternal child health, minimally invasive gynecology, breast cancer care, maternal mental health and integrated wellness.

In addition to her leadership in women’s health, Dr. Brooks is the senior physician executive overseeing clinical quality, patient safety, regulatory compliance, accreditation and patient relations at Hoag. She is a board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist who retired in 2014 after 21 years in private practice in Newport Beach. Dr. Brooks has delivered more than 2,000 babies, provided comprehensive and compassionate health care to women from ages 12 through 92, performed more than 1,000 minimally invasive gynecologic surgical procedures and received Most Compassionate and Best Doctor awards. Dr. Brooks serves on the board of directors of MOMS Orange County in Santa Ana and for Share Our Selves in Costa Mesa.

Rahmani is the new public afairs director at Planned Parenthood of Orange and San Bernardino counties. In her role, she works to protect and advance people’s sexual and reproductive rights through grassroots organizing, public education, strategic partnerships and political campaigning. She has spent most of her career on policy and grassroots organizing and was a legislative assistant for former Congressman Keith Ellison. Most recently, Sadaf was the director of special projects at the Office of Minnesota Attorney General, where she created opportunities for community members and organizations, elected officials, and academics to join in helping find solutions to issues that affect community members’ ability to afford their lives, and live with dignity and respect. Most notably, she led the Minnesota Attorney General’s Advisory Task Force on Lowering Pharmaceutical Drug Prices, which resulted in an award-winning report that continues to serve as a blueprint for state and federal legislators looking for innovative ways to lower the cost of prescription drugs. Rahmani received her M.A. degree in International Relations and Diplomacy from SOAS, University of London, and her Bachelor’s in International Business and Political Science from the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. She recently moved to Orange County from Minneapolis, MN.

The Laguna Beach Democratic Club is in its 75th year of uninterrupted engagement supporting Democratic candidates, causes and values.

For more information about the Laguna Beach Democratic Club and to register, visit


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