Members of Congress, Allies, and Planned Parenthood Patients Testify to the Essential Role Planned Parenthood Plays Across the Country
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, over 100 Planned Parenthood volunteers, 21 members including Rep. Rosa DeLauro, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senator Richard Blumenthal, and allies NARAL and URGE delivered petitions with more than 2.4 million signatures in support of Planned Parenthood to Congress. Today’s press conference is part of “National Pink Out Day,” which will see nearly 300 supporter-led events across the country with millions of patients and supporters participating to show they #StandWithPP.
Quote from Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
“We’re here today to send a clear message that the American people are sick of baseless political attacks against Planned Parenthood and women’s access to health care. That’s why they’re fighting back and turning the nation pink today --- with more than 285 events in 90 cities across the country and more than 2.4 million signatures we’re delivering to Congress today. Defunding Planned Parenthood would leave millions across the country devastated. 2.7 million women, men and young people rely on these health centers for birth control, lifesaving cancer screenings, STI testing and treatment, well-woman exams, and advice on family planning.
“This is really an attempt to ban abortion and defund Planned Parenthood. It's an assault on every woman like Natarsha, who you’ll hear from shortly, whose breast cancer was caught early thanks to a breast exam at Planned Parenthood, and Stephanie, whose abnormal Pap test results were caught early by Planned Parenthood, and Grecia, who was able to get affordable health care and compassionate support at Planned Parenthood when she had nowhere else to turn.
“It’s because of women like this – and the 2.7 million other women, men and young people that Planned Parenthood serves every year – that we will never give up.”
The event comes at the height of an unprecedented attack on women’s health. Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading, and most trusted, reproductive health care provider, with its nonprofit health centers serving 2.7 million patients each year for basic reproductive health care services. A small group of extreme anti-abortion activists have been leading a concerted attack on Planned Parenthood and the reproductive health care it provides over the past two months --- with 9 fake video tapes, 4 Congressional investigations, and 14 votes to restrict women’s access to reproductive health care.
Three patients spoke to the crowd of about 100 supporters about their experiences with Planned Parenthood and how it changed their lives (full remarks below).
Representatives from NARAL and URGE also spoke, and a diverse coalition of 373 organizations are participating in Pink Out Day as well, including MoveOn.org, CREDO Action, and People for the American Way --- helping to organize grassroots events across the country, gathering signatures on grassroots petitions in support of Planned Parenthood and against recent attacks on reproductive health.
Sasha Bruce, Senior Vice President of Campaigns and Strategy, NARAL Pro-Choice America said "Republicans in Congress have chosen to stand with Daleiden and Newman, men who want to dictate women’s choices and strip them of their freedom, in a ploy to further their obsession with rolling back women’s reproductive rights. And they're not standing with the the millions who use Planned Parenthood or the 7 in 10 Americans who want nothing to do with this farce. NARAL Pro-Choice America is proud to stand with Planned Parenthood, with women and with the 2 million activists who signed the petition we’re delivering today”
Samaria Johnson, advocate with URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity added that "Planned Parenthood was a vital resource for me when I needed them and I know their services are absolutely indispensable for young people all over the country.”
There were 21 members of Congress who voiced their support for Planned Parenthood, including Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Representatives Rosa DeLauro, Doris Matsui, Ruben Gallego, Marc Veasey, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Suzanne Bonamici, Lois Capps, Nita Lowey, Brenda Lawrence, Barbara Lee, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Zoe Lofgren, Diana DeGette, Chris Van Hollen, Donna Edwards, David Cicilline, Jerrold Nadler, Jackie Speier, and Jan Schakowsky.
Rosa DeLauro who led the press conference said, “This is a critical time for women and families. Today, events around the country---including in New Haven---are showing how deeply Americans care about women health. Planned Parenthood patients and supporters are engaging Congress and standing up to political extremists. Planned Parenthood provides 2.7 million people with life saving care. For many low income families Planned Parenthood is the only way to get care.”
About Pink Out Day: On Tuesday, September 29, millions of volunteers are rallying in support of Planned Parenthood. Dubbed “National Pink Out Day,” supporters will hold close to 300 volunteer-led events in nearly 90 cities across the country, supporters and patients will deliver more than 2.4 million “I Stand With Planned Parenthood” petition signatures to congressional leaders, Planned Parenthood health centers will offer free STD testing at 28 sites across the country, and supporters around the country are tweeting and turning their social media profiles pink to show their support for Planned Parenthood.
For a full list of events taking place for National Pink Out Day, visit www.istandwithpp.org/events
Full Patient Remarks
Remarks of Natarsha McQueen, Brooklyn, NY
Good afternoon. Thank you to Representative DeLauro for inviting me to speak with you today.
My name is Natarsha McQueen. I am from Brooklyn, New York, and thanks to an early cancer screening from Planned Parenthood, I am a breast cancer survivor.
I was 33 years old when I felt two lumps during my monthly self-exam. This was seven years ago. I immediately called my gynecologist at Planned Parenthood in Brooklyn, New York.
She did an exam, agreed that something suspicious was in my breast tissue, and gave me a referral for a mammogram — my first one ever — of my left breast. I had an ultrasound that same day and a biopsy two days later.
After a long week of anticipation, the results came back positive: I had breast cancer.
My diagnosis came as a complete shock. I was so young, and no one in my family had ever been diagnosed before. I was told that my cancer was in Stage 1 but that it in terms of aggressiveness, it was Grade 3.
I underwent a mastectomy, followed by five years of hormone treatment. I am coming up on my seven-year survivor anniversary, and the cancer is in complete remission.
Because of Planned Parenthood’s screening and mammogram referral, I was able to detect my cancer early and get the treatment I needed. If it weren’t for the care I got at Planned Parenthood, I might not be here today.
And I continue to go to Planned Parenthood for my regular wellness exams.
I’d hate to think what could happen to other women just like me across the country if Planned Parenthood is defunded.
How many women would delay their exam if they can’t go to their local Planned Parenthood health center?
How many women won’t get their diagnosis until their cancer is much more advanced and expensive to treat?
How many women won’t get their diagnosis until it’s too late?
Lawmakers need to think about these women, not about scoring political points.
I call on Congress to ensure that no woman is cut off from the lifesaving care she needs and that her family depends on.
Remarks of Grecia Magdaleno, Phoenix, AZ:
Good afternoon. My name is Grecia Magdaleno, and I’m from Phoenix, Arizona.
I am a Mexican-American, first-generation college student. I’m a proud Latina, and a proud Planned Parenthood patient.
When my family and I were dropped from our health insurance when I was a teenager, and I was denied Arizona’s state health insurance, Planned Parenthood was there for me.
I sought them out and they worked with me to get the exact care I needed. The Planned Parenthood staff was very warm, they welcomed me and genuinely cared about my well-being. They asked me specific questions that no other health care provider had asked me before, because they wanted to give me the best care they could.
I had no money in my pocket and didn’t know what to expect, but Planned Parenthood helped me get financial assistance. I got the health care I needed and Planned Parenthood didn’t expect anything out of me. That’s when I knew Planned Parenthood practices what they preach: they care no matter what.
Politicians who want to take away our access to Planned Parenthood clearly don’t know how important Planned Parenthood is to people across the country, or how high quality the care is at their health centers. Planned Parenthood has never let me down, and that’s why I’m here to stand with them today.
Remarks of Stephanie Ann Diaz, Miami, FL
Good afternoon. My name is Stephanie Diaz, and I’m came here today from my hometown of Miami, Florida, because I stand with Planned Parenthood.
As a college student living away from home, I had to figure a lot of things out on my own – especially when it came to my health care.
Thankfully, Planned Parenthood was there to help me. As a college student, I didn’t have any health insurance. So at 21, when I needed my annual pap test, the only reason I was able to get one was because Planned Parenthood offered it at an affordable cost.
I was young, and I thought everything would be fine. However, that wasn't the case. My pap test results came back abnormal, and I needed to have biopsy.
Once again, Planned Parenthood was there. But they offered so much more than cancer screening and detection. They offered compassion.
When I came in for my biopsy, I clearly was nervous and scared. The Planned Parenthood health manger stayed with me and held my hand throughout the entire procedure.
The politicians who are attacking Planned Parenthood are not just attacking women’s access to affordable health care – they are attacking women’s access to supportive, caring health care providers who make a difference in their patients’ lives every single day.
I will never forget how Planned Parenthood staff went above and beyond to make sure I was cared for and comfortable, and I am forever grateful.
Thank you Planned Parenthood, thank you.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) delivers remarks
Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) delivers opening remarks at the Pink Out Day press conference in DC
Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President, Planned Parenthood Federation of America speaks to volunteers and patients at Pink Out Day
Volunteers deliver petitions to Congressional leadership
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 media office: 212-261-4433
September 29, 2015