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At the beginning of the year restaurateur Ruth Gresser set out on a mission. To commemorate the fact that the recently sworn in 116th Congress has more women than ever before, her local restaurant chainlet Pizzeria Paradiso launched the “United States of Pizza: Women’s Slice of the Pie.” From January through today, all locations have featured Neapolitan-style pies inspired by states with women in power.
“On the one hand you can be excited that the number of women in national leadership has increased and is now at 25 percent, and at the same time 25 percent is only half of what women represent in the population,” she told City Paper in January.
The past week featured an Alabama inspired pie by with smoked chicken, collards, bacon, green tomatoes, gouda, and a white barbecue sauce.
But right around the same time the special pizzas starting flying out of the oven, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed what’s being described as the most stringent abortion law in the U.S. It makes performing an abortion a felony, even in cases of rape and incest.
Gresser came out of the gate explaining that the Women’s Slice of the Pie initiative is nonpartisan. That’s why she didn’t list the party affiliations of the female governors, senators, and congresswomen on the menu. Now she’s trying to balance that goal with her steadfast feminism and passion for women’s rights and women’s access to healthcare.
She has decided to donate all proceeds of Alabama pizza sales to Planned Parenthood and will retroactively donate proceeds from the sales of previously featured pizzas from states that have passed similar laws “preventing women’s access to healthcare,” including Missouri and Michigan.
Pizzeria Paradiso isn’t the only D.C. restaurant taking on this social issue.
Himitsu co-owners Carlie Steiner and Kevin Tien are hosting a “pro-choice pop-up” tonight and tomorrow night on the Petworth restaurant’s patio. Tien will serve the fried chicken sandwiches he makes at his other restaurant, Hot Lola’s in Ballston. Visit from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. or until they run out of sandwiches. Two different flavors will be offered for $10 each and all proceeds will go to the National Network of Abortion Funds, Yellowhammer Funds, and Access Reproductive Care.