Washington, DC – As members of the House head back to DC, they’ll still have the cries of angry constituents in their ears – after being bombarded by outrage and activism during their most recent week of recess. Constituents reacted to their vote to “defund” Planned Parenthood and pass the Republican health care repeal bill, the American Health Care Act, the worst bill for women’s health in a generation.
Planned Parenthood Action Fund, in partnership with Organizing for Action, MoveOn.org, and the Center for American Progress Action Fund, held more than 75 events over the past week, to hold their members of Congress accountable for voting to strip health care from more than 20 million and attack Planned Parenthood, the 100-year-old nonprofit health care provider.
These actions come after months of unprecedented organizing, activism, and support for Planned Parenthood and against attacks on one of America’s most trusted health care providers. Members of Congress have already faced broad grassroots opposition in their home districts, at town halls and rallies outside their offices, because of their attempts to “defund’ Planned Parenthood. Watch a video with some of the highlights, “100 Days of Resistance,” here.
The term “defunding” Planned Parenthood is a misnomer -- the American Health Care Act would in fact prohibit the millions who rely on Medicaid from coming to Planned Parenthood health centers for basic care like birth control, cancer screenings, and regular checkups. If enacted, prohibiting individuals from accessing preventive care at Planned Parenthood health centers would have a devastating impact on the 2.5 million people a year who rely on Planned Parenthood health centers for essential health services.
In March, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the provision to “defund” Planned Parenthood would result in reduced access to care for patients who live in areas where Planned Parenthood is the only health care option and where Planned Parenthood serves low-income populations. More than half of Planned Parenthood health centers are in health professional shortage areas, rural or medically underserved areas. Experts have repeatedly said that other providers cannot absorb Planned Parenthood’s patients.
In Alaska, Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK) held a town hall where the point was made that Community Health Centers can not replace the care that Planned Parenthood provides.
In California, almost immediately after the vote, people gathered in front of Rep. Steve Knight (CA-25)’s office to protest his vote.
Over 50 Planned Parenthood supporters showed up at Rep. Susan Brooks (IN-05)’s office in Carmel, IN, when they opened at 8:30 a.m.
In Evansville, IN, Planned Parenthood supporters turned out at Rep. Larry Buschon (IN-05)’s office to ask where they will go now for their care. Supporters were in place at 8:30 a.m. sharp when they opened the offices.
Over 200 people rallied outside of Sen. Roy Blunt’s (MO) St. Louis office. They chanted, waved signs, and let Sen. Blunt know that Missourians want access to health care and love Planned Parenthood.
In Springfield, Missouri, over 45 folks turned out to Long’s office to show their outrage about Long’s vote to defund Planned Parenthood and repeal the ACA. Folks who turned out included families with loved ones who have pre-existing conditions and lots of Planned Parenthood supporters concerned about attacks on access to care.
At Rep. Tom MacArthur (NJ-3)’s town hall in New Jersey, constituents confronted their Congressman for reviving the GOP health care plan and for not realizing how much the bill would do to hurt women and block access to care at Planned Parenthood clinics.
In Kinderhook NY, Planned Parenthood supporters protested outside Rep. John Faso’s office in Kinderhook. More than 45 supporters came out in the pouring rain to let Rep. Faso know that they were outraged by his vote. One young mother shared how she was a patient at Planned Parenthood before deciding to get pregnant and was grateful Planned Parenthood was there for her. Another young woman, who is a local farmer in this rural community, shared how important health coverage was to her and her fellow farmers.
In Corning, NY, 30 constituents showed up at Rep. Tom Reed (NY-23)’s office to express their concerns with the bill.
In Kingston, NY, nearly 200 people gathered at Congressman Faso’s Kingston office (NY-19) in the pouring rain, making it the largest demonstration at Faso’s Kingston office. This demonstration followed Faso facing massive backlash on Twitter for his vote.
In Ohio, a crowd of Planned Parenthood supporters showed up in downtown Columbus to send a message to lawmakers that the health care plan is the worst piece of legislation for women in a generation. This bill would block over 30,000 Ohioans from accessing birth control and cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood.
Over a dozen constituents showed up at Rep. Barbara Comstock (VA-10)’s office in Sterling, VA at 11 a.m. Barbara Comstock’s constituents have been calling on her again and again to hold a town hall and take a public stand on the issues that matter to them.
Planned Parenthood Action Fund is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit membership organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The Action Fund engages in educational and electoral activity, including voter education, grassroots organizing, and legislative advocacy.