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FLAGSTAFF, AZ –– This past Saturday, September 21st Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona relayed in Flagstaff  to represent the 62.6 mile distance patients will now how to travel each way after the Trump administration’s gag rule forced Planned Parenthood out of the Title X program.

The Planned Parenthood Arizona Flagstaff health center proudly provides affordable access to birth control, wellness exams, STI testing, as well as cancer screenings for those who need it most. New polling released last week shows that voters in Arizona, Colorado and key swing Congressional districts nationwide oppose the Trump administration’s Title X gag rule, and are less likely to support legislators that don’t act to block it.

Arizona voters say they are concerned about how the Trump administration’s Title X gag rule will affect Planned Parenthood specifically.  A strong majority (60%) say they are opposed to this change that would “stop women from getting medical screenings and birth control from Planned Parenthood, which is the program’s largest provider of these services to low-income women,” including 67% of women and 63% of independents.

Over 46 people showed up including Arizona state legislators, Rep. Athena Salman, Rep. Raquel Terán as well as Sen. Juan Mendez, and collectively walked 159 miles to call on Senator Martha McSally to recognize the public health crisis the Trump-Pence Title X gag rule creates in rural communities in Arizona.

“People cared enough to come out and sweat for this,” Desiree Perez, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona Northern Arizona organizer stated, “Flagstaff cares so much that we tripled our relay goal but that only does so much because 159 miles is not even roundtrip for two people to reach the Title X care they rely on. Congress and Sen. McSally can protect Title X and honor the will of the people who were willing to go the distance on Saturday by voting in favor of the Appropriations bill to protect Title X.”

This comes as Senate Republicans cancelled Committee consideration of the Labor-HHS spending bill this week because they did not want to vote on an amendment to add Title X protections and eliminate the gag rule.

If allowed to remain in effect, the Trump-Pence administration’s Title X gag rule will dismantle the nation’s birth control and reproductive health program and block access to Planned Parenthood for patients who rely on Title X— threatening the ability for people that are struggling to make ends meet to access birth control, STI testing, cancer screenings, and other essential reproductive health care. That is why Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona continues rallying activists this month to call on Congress to move forward with the Appropriations language that will stop the harmful gag rule.

Planned Parenthood ‘s advocacy and political arm in Arizona, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona (PPAA), is the state’s largest nonpartisan advocacy organization dedicated to protecting access to reproductive health care. PPAA is fighting for every person’s freedom and right to make reproductive choices, enjoy sexual health and wellbeing, and build healthy, strong families. Advocatesaz.org