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Planned Parenthood Maine Action Fund will celebrate the anniversary of the Women’s March in Augusta at the Maine Women’s March 2.0: Power to the Polls. The rally and march will begin tomorrow, Saturday January 20th, at 11 a.m. in Augusta outside the State House.

The 2017 Women’s March sparked an energy that will carry through 2018. In the past year millions of women called and showed up at their member of Congress’s offices and defeated Trumpcare and efforts to block women from getting preventive care at Planned Parenthood, spoke out against sexual harassment, assault, and institutional inequality, as part of the #metoo movement, and led the way towards important electoral victories in Virginia and Alabama. Here in Maine, women turned out in force in support of the 12-month birth control bill which will increase access to birth control for Maine women.     

“2018 will be a pivotal year for women's health and women's rights; and women will be a potent political force. Women are demanding nothing less than full equality - at work, at school, at home, and in society,” said Nicole Clegg, Vice President of Public Policy for the Planned Parenthood Maine Action Fund.  “And we’re just getting started. We’re going to use this energy and support to fight at the local level to ensure everyone in Maine has full equality, can control their own bodies, and can access health care without fear, shame, or stigma.”

In 2017, reproductive rights were under attack at both the federal level and in Maine. The Maine legislature narrowly defeated a bill granting legal rights to a fetus, which would have created confusion in Maine law and chipped away at abortion rights.  

At the federal level, Donald Trump and Mike Pence spent the year trying to block access to affordable birth control, “defund” Planned Parenthood, cut funding for teen pregnancy prevention programs, and strip away women’s fundamental right to obtain a safe, legal abortion.

As a result of these attacks, Planned Parenthood saw an unprecedented outpouring of organizing, activism, and support. Planned Parenthood health centers in Maine saw a 6% increase in patients. The Planned Parenthood Maine Action Fund added more than 14,000 new supporters and had more than 700 volunteers in 2017. During the fight to prevent “defunding” of Planned Parenthood, the action team called more than 10% of the state in support of Planned Parenthood.

Nationwide, in the last year, Planned Parenthood gained more than 250,000 volunteers and more than 1.5 million new supporters; held more than 2,700 organized events across the country to resist attacks on women and basic health care rights; and delivered more than 1.5 million petition signatures to members of Congress in opposition to defunding Planned Parenthood.