Volunteers Rally Around Planned Parenthood As Congressional Defund Fight Nears
Contact: Planned Parenthood Action Fund Media Office, 212-261-4519, [email protected]
For Immediate Release: Jan. 5, 2017 (Updated: Jan. 5, 2017, 3:18 p.m.)
300 Events Across 47 States and 150 Cities to say #IStandWithPlannedParenthood
Washington, DC — Volunteers have planned nearly 300 events across 47 states and 150 cities, all to show support for Planned Parenthood.
The events come as the very real threat of a Congressional defunding battle draws near — with anti-women’s health members of Congress pledging to attack Planned Parenthood and block patients from essential care like cancer screenings, birth control, and STD testing and treatment. If their attacks succeed, millions of people — nearly half of whom are people of color and many who live in rural areas, who already face systemic barriers in accessing care — would lose the care they rely on. This also happens on the eve of a fight over repealing the Affordable Care Act, which would mean millions would lose their health insurance and more than 55 million women would lose access to no-copay birth control and other important health benefits.
The events will take place throughout January, February and March, and include Action Forums, marches, rallies, and more. The events coincide with the launch of a new website, istandwithpp.org, directing supporters to take action by sending letters to their members of Congress, volunteering for Planned Parenthood, sharing their story, finding an event, or calling their senator. A petition asking Congress to stand with Planned Parenthood against the attacks also launched on Tuesday, already boasting 63,000 signatures.
Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood, will also participate in a Facebook Live event with other Planned Parenthood leaders on Thursday, January 5 to talk about the fight ahead and share how supporters can get involved directly.
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.
With infamously anti-women’s health politicians such as Mike Pence, Jeff Sessions and Tom Price set to take prominent roles in Donald Trump’s administration, worry over increased attacks against access to basic reproductive health care such as cancer screenings, birth control, STD testing and treatment and well-woman exams has grown — with Planned Parenthood health centers seeing a rush of new appointment requests and an outpouring of support in the weeks after the election. Mike Pence has been on a crusade against Planned Parenthood and reproductive health care for nearly a decade, and was the first to ever introduce legislation to block patients who rely on public funds from getting care at Planned Parenthood. And both Price and Sessions bring many years of votes against access to reproductive health care.
Quote from Kelley Robinson, Deputy National Organizing Director, Planned Parenthood Action Fund:
The fight starts today. Planned Parenthood health centers serve 2.5 million people annually. If Mike Pence and Tom Price had their way, millions of people across the country would be stripped of their access to basic health care. People of color, people living in rural communities, and people with low incomes, who already face systemic barriers in accessing health care, would be most impacted by these attacks. We won’t back down, we won’t be silenced, and we will not let these politicians attack our health and rights without a fight.
Quote from Tiara Mack, Planned Parenthood Action Fund volunteer from Rhode Island:
We’re energized and we’re determined to fight for our rights. All around the country, people from all walks of life are coming together and organizing to make sure that every single politician in Congress knows that we will not stand for attacks on reproductive health care, or attacks on Planned Parenthood. We’re not going to silently stand around while politicians in Washington try to take away our health care.
The events have already started in some states: 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.
Planned Parenthood has 9.5 million supporters, donors, and activists around the country. Through the nearly 300 events nationwide, and through a robust digital program, Planned Parenthood political and advocacy organizations are mobilizing their millions of supporters to fight back and let politicians know what is at stake with defunding Planned Parenthood and repealing the Affordable Care Act.
The term “defunding” Planned Parenthood is a misnomer — the legislation would in fact bar anyone who relies on Medicaid or other federal programs for health care from turning to Planned Parenthood as their health care provider. Planned Parenthood health centers serve 2.5 million people a year, at least 60 percent of whom rely on federal programs for care, and in many areas, Planned Parenthood health centers are the only family planning option for those who rely on Medicaid or other safety-net programs.
Since the election, Planned Parenthood has seen an outpouring of support, with Planned Parenthood affiliates flooded with new volunteers and supporters taking action on social media. Planned Parenthood health centers also saw a 900% increase in requests for appointments for birth control, and especially long-acting reversible contraceptives such as IUDs, in the week following the election, showing how many people both rely on Planned Parenthood for care, and how many are worried about losing their access to health care under the new administration.