Washington, DC –– In an historic display of power, solidarity, and unity, Planned Parenthood supporters marched alongside millions of women all across the world. In over 600 marches from Alaska to Florida, Maine to Hawaii, and in over 60 countries around the world, millions came together to fight back against attacks on our fundamental civil and human rights.
The marches were headlined by the Women’s March on Washington in Washington, DC, where it was reported that between 500,000 and a million people gathered in the nation’s capitol, with crowds taking up the entire march route and surrounding streets. Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards spoke at the march, alongside dozens of leaders from the racial justice, reproductive rights and justice, immigrant rights, and LGBTQ communities.
Quote from Cecile Richards, President, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
“Today’s marches were the most overwhelming display of unity and solidarity we've seen in our lifetimes. Folks came from all across the world and from all walks of life to come together and fight together. We need to fight for working women to earn a living wage. For immigrant families to live without fear. For mothers everywhere to raise families in safe communities, with clean air and water. For people to live openly no matter who they are or who they love. For the right to vote. And we’re fighting for reproductive rights, including the right to safe, legal abortion. We’re fighting for a future where everyone can follow their dreams and live their life on their own terms. We will not take this lying down, and we will not go back”
The millions of supporters who marched shoulder to shoulder with one another across the world sent a clear message that people are prepared to fight against attacks on fundamental rights –– including reproductive health care, abortion services, and access to Planned Parenthood health centers, as they intersect with the rights of young people, people of color, immigrants, and people of all faiths, backgrounds, and incomes.
Extreme politicians, like Speaker Paul Ryan have indicated their intention to “defund” Planned Parenthood, which would deny millions of people access to the cancer screenings, birth control, STD and HIV testing and treatment and other care they rely on -- and leave patients in Ryan’s own district in Wisconsin with nowhere to turn for reproductive health care. If these politicians succeed, it would be a national health disaster. Planned Parenthood serves 2.5 million people each year –– nearly half of whom are people of color, and many people who live in rural areas. If patients are blocked from accessing care at Planned Parenthood, many would have nowhere else to turn for care.
Marches were held in all 50 states and across the world including South America, Africa, Asia, and Europe.
Since the election, Planned Parenthood affiliates were flooded with new volunteers and people taking action on social media. Planned Parenthood health centers also saw a 900% increase in requests for appointments for long-acting contraceptives such as IUDs in the days right after the election, showing how many people both rely on Planned Parenthood for care, and are worried about losing their access to health care under the new Congress and new administration.
In just the last week, Planned Parenthood activists around the country have been fighting back. In Wisconsin, fifty medical students in lab coats delivered a letter signed by 400 health care professionals in Wisconsin to Speaker Ryan, asking him not to defund Planned Parenthood. In California, hundreds rallied at the state Capitol in Sacramento to urge politicians to protect access to care. In Nevada, 200 Planned Parenthood supporters, including President of PPFA Cecile Richards attended an Action Forum in Las Vegas last week. And in Washington State, over one hundred young people from across Washington state came to Olympia at the state capitol to meet with their legislators and advocate for reproductive health and rights.
The American people overwhelmingly support Planned Parenthood. Recent polling from Perry Undem showed nine in ten adults (including 79% of Trump voters) reject an agenda that includes defunding Planned Parenthood and opposing abortion. Seventeen 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.
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 over 650 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 media office: 212-261-4433
January 21, 2017