More than 300 events across the nation throughout the month of February
Washington, DC-- As Members of Congress return home to their districts this week during recess, Planned Parenthood supporters are organizing in record-breaking numbers to target members at town halls, in district offices, and by holding standalone rallies, all to protect access to health care for the 2.5 million patients who rely on Planned Parenthood every year.
Planned Parenthood supporters are holding over 300 events in February across the country. On Saturday, Cecile Richards will join hundreds of Planned Parenthood supporters and patients from Speaker Paul Ryan’s district to speak out against blocking thousands of Wisconsinites from care.
In Nevada and Arizona, where Senator Dean Heller and Senator Jeff Flake refuse to host their own town halls, Planned Parenthood supporters and partners will host a town hall on their behalf this week. Other major rallies and events will be taking place in Allentown, PA; Boulder, CO; Columbus, OH; and Tallahassee, FL.
Quote from Kelley Robinson, Deputy National Organizing Director, Planned Parenthood Action Fund:
People across the country are making their voices heard –– we don’t want reproductive health care attacked. We’re standing together as women, people of color, immigrants, and as people of faith, and we’re fighting back to make sure that every single politician in America knows that we will not stand for ‘defunding’ Planned Parenthood. We’re not going to silently stand around while politicians in Washington try to take away our health care, so we are meeting them on their home turf and flooding their town halls and statehouses.
Already this weekend, hundreds of supporters marched through snow and rallied at the Alaska Statehouse to call attention to how devastating defunding Planned Parenthood would be in Alaska. In New York, angry constituents flooded multiple town halls held by Rep. Tom Reed and demanded their representative support the Affordable Care Act and Planned Parenthood. In Texas, Planned Parenthood supporters confronted Sen. Ted Cruz, and hundreds more rallied in Atlanta for health care access.
This outpouring of support and activism from Planned Parenthood supporters is breaking records. The organization has seen a spike in volunteers, with more than 50,000 people signing up up to join Planned Parenthood’s grassroots activism rapid response program – called Planned Parenthood Defenders – since the Women’s March at the end of January.
The term “defunding” Planned Parenthood is a misnomer. There is no blank check that Planned Parenthood gets from the federal government, and it’s not a line item in the budget. Instead, this type of legislation would prevent millions of women who rely on Medicaid or other federal programs from accessing the health care provider they’ve been able to rely on for decades. Federal law already blocks federal funds from going to abortion services. Defunding Planned Parenthood instead blocks people from accessing cancer screenings, birth control, HIV and STI testing, and other preventive and essential care.
Blocking access to Planned Parenthood hurts people in communities who are struggling to get by the most – especially those with low incomes and those living in areas with no other quality health care providers. Communities of color, immigrant communities, rural areas, young people, and the LGBTQ community, who already face structural barriers to accessing health care, are disproportionately impacted.
New polling shows that voters overwhelmingly support Planned Parenthood. Sixty-two percent of voters are opposed to defunding Planned Parenthood, while only 31 percent of voters support it. And when those voters are informed what “defunding” Planned Parenthood actually means, only 12 percent of voters support defunding Planned Parenthood, according to Quinnipiac.