Planned Parenthood Advocacy and Political Organizations Continue to Hold Week of Action at Events Across the Country
TALLAHASSEE, FL – Today, Planned Parenthood Federation of America president and CEO Alexis McGill Johnson will join Vice President Kamala Harris, Planned Parenthood providers, staff, and supporters, and fellow leaders of the reproductive rights, health and justice movement at an event in Tallahassee, Florida, to commemorate what would have been the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Dr. Sujatha Prabhakaran, an abortion provider at Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida, will also join the Vice President. Excerpts from both Ms. McGill Johnson’s and Dr. Prabhakaran’s remarks can be found below.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe and take away our federal constitutional right to abortion created a national health crisis and opened the floodgates to allow states across the country to ban abortion. Now, more than one in three people live in a state without access to this essential health care.
Florida epitomizes the struggle for abortion access after the Dobbs decision. Florida remains one of the few states in the southeast where abortion after 6 weeks of pregnancy is not banned, and Planned Parenthood’s Florida affiliates have seen a sharp increase in patients since last year’s Supreme Court decision. However, patients seeking abortion in Florida must contend with myriad barriers: a parental consent requirement that limits access for vulnerable minors; a state-mandated waiting period that forces patients to make a medically unnecessary extra trip to a provider; and of course, Florida’s own ban on abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Each of these barriers compounds the struggle for many abortion patients, especially those who are Black and Latino, who have low incomes, and who live in rural areas, to get an abortion soon after they decide to do so. And the fight for abortion access in Florida is not over: anti-abortion lawmakers have pledged to enact even more restrictive legislation this session.
Excerpts from Planned Parenthood Federation of America president and CEO Alexis McGill Johnson’s remarks (as prepared):
Today, Roe v. Wade would have been 50 years old. We should be celebrating 50 years of freedom from government officials interfering in our personal, private medical decisions. But seven months ago, the Supreme Court eliminated our constitutional right to abortion. There are now abortion bans in 18 states. Right now, 1 in 3 women, and more trans men and nonbinary people, cannot access the care they need in their own communities.
… Make no mistake - while what’s happening to patients and providers is devastating, our movement is recharging. The opposition wants a nationwide ban on abortion. But that’s not what the people want. From the streets to the ballot boxes. From Kansas to Kentucky, Montana to Michigan — the majority of Americans have shown up to say, “we want freedom, not fear.”
And even still - they keep trying to come for us. Right now there is a case filed in Texas, trying to end the FDA’s more than two decades old approval of mifepristone. One court could ban a safe, effective, common method of abortion in every single state across the country.
No matter what happens, I’m here to tell you — rain or shine, we will show up and keep fighting. Every. Single. Day….
Before and after Dobbs, Vice President Harris has been a staunch advocate for reproductive rights. When patients needed support, this administration issued an executive order urging Medicaid to support travel, they supported birth control access through Title X funds, and made some abortion care available through the VA. Vice President Harris has personally hosted leaders from 38 states across 40 different convenings to discuss attacks on reproductive freedom. She brought together 200 state legislators from 18 states to discuss the fight at the state level.
When people want to know where this administration stands when it comes to our reproductive freedom, you tell them: they are resolute. Americans should not be held back by hostile forces; they should be lifted up by hope and possibility. This is what leadership looks like – leaders meet moments of anxiety and they demonstrate clarity. And that is exactly what Vice President Kamala Harris represents as a leader.
Excerpts from Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida physician Dr. Sujatha Prabhakaran’s remarks (as prepared):
Since the Dobbs decision, my colleagues and I have felt heartache over and over again as we must tell patients that we can’t give them the care we are trained and qualified to provide.
They understand that we want to help, and they don’t blame us. But they know they no longer have control over their own bodies.
And for those of us who have been marginalized for so long — people who can become pregnant, people with brown or black skin, people with lower incomes or who don’t speak the dominant language or have differing abilities — the loss of our reproductive freedom has told us we are less important, less valuable, and less safe…
… Recently, I saw a woman who learned at her appointment that she was close to our state’s gestational age limit. Because of Florida’s forced waiting period, I could not give her an abortion that day — and in fact, after that waiting period expired, she would be too far along to get an abortion in the state of Florida. She would need to figure out how to care for her 9 month old baby while traveling to another state, potentially putting her job — and her ability to feed her child — at risk.
There are many people like her who experience the unnecessary harm and pain that comes with being denied the care they need. And that harm falls on our whole society.
That is why it is so important that we not lose hope — in fact, we must build it. We must continue to show up for our communities, and we need leaders who will support us in our fight for true reproductive freedom…
… As a abortion care physician, it means a great deal to me to have a Vice President who, for her entire career, has stood up for my patients, for my fellow providers, and for all of us.
As an abortion advocate, I admire Vice President Harris’s commitment to listening to the experts: the health care providers, social justice leaders, legal experts, and legislators who are on the frontlines of this fight in our states.
And as a brown Indian-American woman, it means that I could tell my three year old daughter that I was introducing a Vice President who is half Indian, just like her. Those are such powerful and inspiring words — ”just like her.”
To mark the anniversary of Roe, Planned Parenthood advocacy and political organizations have been holding a Week of Action, which began on Thursday, January 19, with a series of events nationwide. The events are organized to reduce abortion stigma and take tangible action to support patients through trainings, rallies, and abortion care basket assembly events across the country. Abortion care baskets are filled with items to support patients after an abortion, like heating pads, fuzzy socks, and coloring pages.
Among the events taking place:
- Jan 19: Planned Parenthood Action Council of Utah Abortion Care Kit Assembly Party in Salt Lake City with Senator Nate Blouin, Council Member Darin Mano, and Council Member Alejandro Puy.
- Jan 21: Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio Abortion Action Blitz Rally at the Ohio statehouse in Columbus with state lawmakers
- Jan 23: Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey Rally for Roe at the Statehouse Annex in Trenton with Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman
- Jan 23: Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates Roe Anniversary Event in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania with members of the PA’s Women’s Health Caucus
- Additional Roe anniversary abortion care basket assembly events in Minnesota, Maine, Florida, Vermont, Nevada, South Carolina, and Hawaii
- Additional Roe anniversary abortion stigma training events in Texas, Washington, New York, California, Iowa, Colorado, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Michigan, Massachusetts, Maryland, Ohio, Florida, New Jersey, Alaska, and Illinois.
If you are interested in covering/attending an event, please email [email protected].