As the very real threat of a Congressional defunding battle draws near, Planned Parenthood supporters and volunteers are fighting back all across the country.
Over the past few weeks, thousands and thousands of supporters have come together in cities from Maine to California, and many places in between, to tell politicians to not block care at Planned Parenthood. Many of these events are part of the I Stand With Planned Parenthood campaign that will see over 300 events in over 150 cities across the country.
What Happened This Week
In Speak Paul Ryan’s own backyard in Janesville, fifty medical students in lab coats delivered a letter signed by 400 health care professionals in Wisconsin to Speaker Ryan. The letter detailed the dangers, as doctors in the state see it, of blocking medical care for 50,000 of Wisconsin’s most vulnerable patients in need of essential health care at Planned Parenthood. Nearly 50% of the counties served by Planned Parenthood have no alternative health care provider. In Ryan’s own district there is already a tremendous unmet need for health care.
Hundreds rallied at the state Capitol in Sacramento to urge politicians to protect access to care. As the Sacramento Bee reporter, “Pink scarves, hats and boxing gloves symbolizing opposition to threats to defund Planned Parenthood were the fashion du jour Tuesday outside the state Capitol, where hundreds of people from around Northern California rallied to support the network of health clinics that treat many of the state’s low-income women.”
Photo Credit: Sacramento Bee
Last Friday, Senator Dean Heller’s spokesperson said Heller does not support funding for Planned Parenthood. This week, 200 Planned Parenthood supporters, including President of PPFA Cecile Richards attended an Action Forum in Las Vegas this week. Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains and Planned Parenthood Mar Monte serve nearly 18,000 patients in Nevada –– nearly a quarter of which are Latinos. And it’s not just about Planned Parenthood. If the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is repealed, nearly 400,000 Nevada residents would lose coverage by 2019. People are fighting back in Nevada to make sure that doesn’t happen.
In Washington State
Over one hundred young people from across Washington state came to Olympia at the state capitol to meet with their legislators and advocate for reproductive health and rights. Teens urged their legislators to fight back against the attacks on the 98,000 Washingtonians who receive reproductive health care from Planned Parenthood in Washington state, and stand up for health care access to ensure healthy communities across the state.
This follows previous events from around the country.
In Maine, more than a hundred people attended Action Forums in Portland to prepare to fight against legislation that would block patients from accessing care at Planned Parenthood health centers. Hundreds of volunteers and supporters joined an event in Seattle, WA, to organize and plan for the weeks ahead. And in West Virginia, activists gathered outside Senator Joe Manchin’s office to urge him to support access to care at Planned Parenthood. Just a few weeks before, more supporters had dropped of petitions from hundreds of West Virginians to urge Manchin to protect Planned Parenthood.
WHAT’S TO COME: IDEFY Campaign
Planned Parenthood Federation of America will be hosting a Facebook Live event on Sunday, January 22 at 12:00 pm PST/3:00 PM EST to officially launch #IDEFY — the start of five-year effort to identify, train, and mobilize young people in order to bring them into a lifetime of activism. The #IDEFY campaign asks young people to use social media to tell the world what they defy — discrimination, intolerance, slut-shaming, abortion stigma, sub-par sex ed, racism, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, and other forces that obstruct justice and block individual opportunity. To learn more about IDEFY, check out this story from Refinery29, or this one from Teen Vogue.
More events will take place throughout January, February and March.
The American people overwhelmingly support Planned Parenthood
Sixteen separate nationwide polls and nine polls in key swing states show strong favorability for Planned Parenthood and strong opposition to efforts in Congress to block patients from accessing high-quality, often lifesaving care at Planned Parenthood. Additionally, a recent Politico-Harvard poll showed overwhelming support for Planned Parenthood, including from nearly half of self-identified Trump supporters.