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Thousands Rally on Capitol Hill to Stand Up for Women’s Health

Today 4,000 people from across the country joined Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and more than 20 other leading organizations to take a stand for women’s health in front of the U.S. Capitol.

See photos from the Stand Up for Women’s Health rally HERE.

The rally showed broad support for women’s health care — and deep opposition to extreme proposals in Congress to deprive millions of women of the vital services that Planned Parenthood health centers provide. Speaking at the rally were members of Congress, leaders of influential organizations and noted actors (full list below).

More than 30 buses brought supporters from as far away as Michigan and Ohio to today’s rally.

“We’ve heard from more than 800,000 supporters like you from across the country,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “They have told this Congress, ‘No!’ No to blocking access to the doctors and nurses at Planned Parenthood health centers. No to advancing your ideology at the expense of our health."

Senator Patty Murray said, “I am here today, like every one of you, to speak with one voice … to deliver one message. And that is this: no budget that denies funding for women's health care is going to make it out of that building behind me. This is too important and there is too much on the line.”

Senator Charles Schumer said, “I stand with my colleagues Barbara Boxer and Patty Murray. We come with a very simple message: the dangerous, ideological cuts to Planned Parenthood that passed the House are never, never, never going to pass the Senate. We are not going to let them move the clock back. We are moving forward. We stand with you.”

Several members of Congress spoke at the rally in support of women’s health and Planned Parenthood. They included Senator Barbara Boxer, Senator Frank Lautenberg, Senator Patty Murray, Senator Charles Schumer, Rep. Diana DeGette, Rep. Rosa DeLauro, and Rep. Louise Slaughter.

Also speaking were Rev. Marcia Dyson; Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America; Wade Henderson, president and CEO, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights; Anthony Romero, executive director, American Civil Liberties Union; and Carolyn Smithers, a former Planned Parenthood patient.

Noted actors and artists also spoke. They included Connie Britton, Emmy-nominated star of Friday Night Lights; Ed Harris, Oscar-nominated star of Apollo 13; David Eigenberg, star of Sex and the City; and Amy Madigan, Oscar-nominated star of Twice in a Lifetime.

"It is truly unacceptable that a small group with an extreme political agenda is forcing a shutdown of the United States government over a dangerous proposal that would bar women from getting the lifesaving health care they need — breast exams, Pap tests, HIV tests and more. The American people expect their leaders to fix the economy and solve real problems, not shut down the government,” said Richards.

In addition to Planned Parenthood Federation of America and NARAL Pro-Choice America, the following organizations participated in this grassroots rally: The American Civil Liberties Union, Advocates for Youth, American Association of University Women, Black Women's Health Imperative, Catholics for Choice, Center for Reproductive Rights, Choice USA, DC Vote, EMILY's List, Feminist Majority, Guttmacher Institute, National Council of Jewish Women, National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, National Network of Abortion Funds, National Partnership for Women and Families, National Women's Law Center, National Women's Political Caucus, Religious Action Center, Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, Religious Institute, Sister Song Women of Color Collective, and YWCA.

The grassroots support for Planned Parenthood is widespread. Across the country, voters are standing up and speaking out for Planned Parenthood.

• Since the House passed its slash-and-burn spending plan — including a proposal by Rep. Mike Pence to bar Planned Parenthood from participating in any federal health program, more than 810,000 people have signed a petition defending Planned Parenthood from unjustified attacks.

• Planned Parenthood has gained more than 60,000 new Facebook fans since mid-January — a 992 percent increase over the preceding 10-week period.

• More than 7,000 patients have submitted stories in appreciation of Planned Parenthood’s valuable and affordable services. (Every state and DC!)

• The "#StandWithPP" hashtag has gone viral across the Internet.


Angered supporters have turned their attention to Capitol Hill to defend Planned Parenthood.

• 40,000 calls have been dialed to House and Senate offices.

• More than 120 organizations have signed a letter in support of Planned Parenthood.

• More than 30 health care organizations sent letters to Washington defending Planned Parenthood. The nonpartisan American Congress of Gynecologists and Obstetricians (ACOG) and National Medical Association (NMA) recently held a conference call with reporters to defend the value of Planned Parenthood’s work and speak out against the congressional attacks.

• 100 Members of Congress signed a “Dear Colleague” letter in opposition to the Pence amendment.

• Seven U.S. senators held a press conference to strongly state their commitment to defeating this attack in the Senate. 

• 41 U.S. senators, enough to filibuster, wrote Senate leadership affirming their opposition to the Pence amendment.

• In defense of Planned Parenthood, Majority Leader Reid has been resolute: "Planned Parenthood doesn’t contribute to the deficit – it contributes in great measure to the health and safety of women of every age, in every state."

• Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) noted that“Planned Parenthood provides vital services to those in need and [I] disagree with their funding cuts in the bill.”


Planned Parenthood’s supporters have tirelessly organized events, media buys, and bus tours. A snapshot of activities can be found on our interactive map: plannedparenthoodfightsback.org.

• Planned Parenthood affiliates and supporters have produced at least 285 events, bringing out more than 25,000 attendees. There have been 49 in-district meetings, post card drop bys, health center tours, and town halls in 10 different states.

• New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Gov. Peter Shumlin (VT), and Gov. Martin O’Malley (MD) have participated in a reporter conference call to discuss the Pence amendment’s drastic consequences.

• Radio ads have targeted various members of Congress that supported the Pence amendment. The ads targeted Reps. Allen West (FL-22), Joe Walsh (IL-08), Randy Hultgren (IL-14), Frank Guinta (NH-01), Ann Marie Buerkle (NY-25), Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-08), and Pat Meehan (PA-07). 

• Television ads ran in Washington, DC, and 12 other markets:  Las Vegas, Portland (OR), Helena, Charleston, Richmond, Columbia, Portland (ME), Baton Rouge, Indianapolis, Little Rock, Anchorage, and Boston.

• The Truth Tour pink bus has taken communities across America by storm — including 25 events in the following markets:

• Geneva, IL
• Toledo, OH
• Aliquippa, PA
• Langhorne, PA
• Syracuse, NY
• Providence, RI
• Manchester, NH
• Springfield, MO
• Columbia, MO
• St. Louis, MO
• Englewood, NJ
• Cleveland, OH
• Muncie, IN
• Madison, WI
• Milwaukee, WI
• Ann Arbor, MI
• Baton Rouge, LA
• New Orleans, LA
• Hattiesburg, MS
• Birmingham, AL
• Atlanta, GA
• Winston-Salem, NC
• Greensboro, NC
• Raleigh, NC
• Roanoke, VA

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Contacts

Planned Parenthood Media Office, 212-261-4433

Published: 04.07.11

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