Grassroots Support for Planned Parenthood Surges in Response to Attacks on Planned Parenthood
For Immediate Release: Sept. 4, 2015
- More than 600,000 people have signed on to stand with Planned Parenthood
- More than 60,000 people have signed a card to thank their Planned Parenthood Health Centers
- Supporters held more than 100 grassroots events across the country to show they stand with Planned Parenthood
- Hundreds of patients and supporters across the country are writing into their local papers to talk about how important Planned Parenthood is in their community
As anti-abortion groups continue to go after Planned Parenthood and the care it provides, and as the Members of Congress threaten to shut down Congress if they don’t get their way --- and strip millions across the country of care --- Planned Parenthood supporters are fighting back.
The overwhelming message: blocking the millions of patients who rely on Planned Parenthood health centers for care won’t fly.
Patients and members of the community have sent thank you cards to their local health centers, are organizing grassroots events across the country to show their support for the non-profit health care provider, and are writing to their local papers.
They’re also taking action online --- with thousands across the country reaching out to their Senators, and more than 600,000 people signing onto a petition to show that they stand with Planned Parenthood and against defunding efforts.
In a letter to the editor in the York Dispatch, York City resident Pam Zebra wrote:
“Planned Parenthood has provided much-needed medical care to Pennsylvania men and women for almost 100 years; they've been here in York since the 1930s. The people who made these disgusting videos have tried for years to destroy Planned Parenthood with false claims. Their agenda is clear: destroy Planned Parenthood, which would not only make access to the legal procedure of abortion much more difficult, but would make contraception, cancer screenings, STD tests and other preventive health care harder to come by for many [residents of York County] as well.”
Jacquielynn Floyd, a columnist for The Dallas Morning News,wrote:
“Because none of what has been released, and nothing that’s to come, alters the fact that woman must keep the right to make their own medical decisions. Nothing alters my belief that government interference in people’s personal reproductive decisions is offensive and hypocritical.”
Grassroots events were held in more than 100 cities, including:
- Beaverton, OR
- Baltimore, MD
- Nassau County, NY
- Charleston, SC
- Columbia, SC
- Albuquerque, NM
- Jacksonville, FL
- Cincinnati, OH
- Columbus, OH
- Fort Myers, FL
- Orlando, FL
- Indianapolis, IN
- Albany, NY
- Fort Wayne, IN
- Bloomington, IN
- Portland, ME
- Philadelphia, PA
- Boston, MA
- Las Vegas, NV
- Los Angeles, CA
- Rochester, NY
- Stamford, CT
- Buffalo, NY
- Rochester, NY
- Syracuse, NY
- Memphis, TN
- Seattle, WA
- Salt Lake City, UT
- Lexington, KY
- South Bend, IN
- Pittsburgh, PA
- New York City, NY
- Schenectady, NY
- Washington, DC
- Watertown, NY
- Concord, NH
- Little Rock, AR
- New Haven, CT
- Anchorage, AK
- Honolulu, HI
- Meridian, ID
- Reno, NV
- Denver, CO
More events are planned this weekend and next week, leading up to the expected vote in the Senate over whether to block Planned Parenthood health centers from serving patients who depend on publicly funded health care programs.
This demonstration of gratitude and support from community members follows a recent smear campaign -- part of a decade-long pattern of illegal harassment by extremists obsessed with banning abortion and preventing women from accessing preventive health care at Planned Parenthood health centers. Already, politicians have begun to use this attack to justify legislation that would block Planned Parenthood patients from receiving birth control, lifesaving cancer screenings, and other services. As The New York Times editorial board wrote: “Lawmakers responding by promoting their own anti-choice agenda are rewarding deception and putting women’s health and their constitutionally protected rights at risk.”
Recent polling has shown that 64 percent of voters --- including 72 percent of Independents -- not agree with Congressional Republicans who want to block Planned Parenthood health centers from serving patients who rely on public funding. In addition, the polling showed that attacks on Planned Parenthood’s health care services are a political liability, with voters, by 58 percent to 26 percent, saying they would support a candidate who favors continued funding of Planned Parenthood over one who favors ending government funding.
Planned Parenthood has asked National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins, to create an independent panel to review the techniques, risks and benefits of fetal tissue research. We believe that a science-based examination will justify broad bipartisan support of fetal research as it did in 1993, when current Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton voted in favor of legislation legalizing that research.
Snapshot of patient letters:
Ashley Hartman wrote to Cleveland'sThe Plain Dealer:
“I've been surprised by the shameless attacks on Planned Parenthood. My experience with the organization has been welcoming, comforting and compassionate.
“I had just moved to Cleveland to finish my graduate degree when I first became a patient at Planned Parenthood. I was in the middle of several life changes, including managing my own health care for the first time. I was overwhelmed.
“My friends recommended I try Planned Parenthood because of their own positive experiences with the doctors and nurses. I remember feeling safe and comfortable immediately. The doctor was wearing a pin that read "Healthcare is a Right," and it struck me that everyone should have access to caring and compassionate healthcare, though it's not usually the case.
“In college, I witnessed several peers deal with the consequences of unintended pregnancies. Their educational and career goals suffered. And, it could have all been prevented if they had received the basic health support Planned Parenthood provides.
Extremist politicians want to put an end to that support. But, I encourage folks to continue advocating to keep the doors at Planned Parenthood open.”
Social Work Students at Tulane University wrote to the Uptown Messenger:
“[W]e are concerned about the deceitful attempt to defund Planned Parenthood, an organization that provides vital health care services to 2.7 million Americans each year. In Louisiana alone, Planned Parenthood annually provides 16,000 visits in both Baton Rouge and New Orleans for services that include birth control, cancer screenings, STD tests and treatment, and other preventative healthcare such as much-needed sexual health education….”
“Furthermore, we want to clarify that Planned Parenthood does not receive federal funding for abortion services. Federal funds are restricted from funding these services by the Hyde Amendment. What the money does fund is healthcare for people who need it. In Louisiana, we have a dearth of healthcare services for low-income people, made worse in recent years.
“Social workers see the tragic consequences of lack of health care every day. Per the CDC New Orleans is number two in the nation for HIV infections, and Baton Rouge is number three per capita. People here are struggling with higher-than-average rates of chronic illnesses, and they cannot afford to find treatment. Social Work Students United for Reproductive Freedom (SWURF) does not see this as a pro-choice versus pro-life issue. We see it as a human rights issue. It is about the right to have freedom over one’s body without government intervention. It is about the health of Louisiana women, men, and children. For those reasons, we support Planned Parenthood.”
Emily Kiser wrote in The News & Observer:
“I worked for Planned Parenthood as a health care assistant for two years. I cared for women who came for birth control, STD treatment and cancer screenings. I also cared for women who turned to Planned Parenthood for abortion.”
“Some of the women I spoke with felt the decision was difficult, but most walked through our doors determined to reclaim their lives, and they left grateful to us for providing high-quality, nonjudgmental care….”
“Opinion writers, especially those who oppose safe and legal abortion, may not understand the care Planned Parenthood provides, but our patients do. I stand with them, and I stand with Planned Parenthood.”
Cheryl Bergian wrote in The Forum:
“No legitimate news source should give credence to the fraudulent and highly edited videos attacking Planned Parenthood….
“Our community experienced the harassment, intimidation and violence of groups like this in the early 1990s when the 'Lambs of Christ' invaded Fargo and the clinic that provided abortions was bombed. We know the real agenda of organizations behind videos like these, and they have never been concerned with protecting the health and safety of women. Their mission is to ban abortion.”
In a video posted by Planned Parenthood Action Fund, several Planned Parenthood patients speak about the role that the health provider has played in helping men, women, and young people access affordable birth control, lead healthy lives, have children when they’re ready, plan their families, and achieve their goals.
Planned Parenthood is the nation's leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation's largest provider of sex education. With approximately 700 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America
Contact: Planned Parenthood Federation of America
media office: 212-261-4433
July 31, 2015