Santa Barbara Rallies around Planned Parenthood
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Throughout the country, many people have stood together in opposition to the Trump administration’s promise to cut funding for Planned Parenthood.
On Tuesday, February 21st, 300 people were at a rally in downtown Santa Barbara to support the continued funding of Planned Parenthood. Many people held signs and wore pink hats with ears called “pussyhats,” a trend that started at the Women’s March on January 22nd.
The president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Central Coast, Jenna Tosh, spoke at the rally saying that “we are here because there are some people in Washington [D.C.] that want to turn back the clock on our hard-earned progress for women” as reported by the Santa Barbara Independent.
While the rally in Santa Barbara was going on, a smaller rally took place in opposition of abortion. Some Thomas Aquinas College students and others held posters with photos of aborted fetuses. A college student, Barbara O’Brien, said, “I’d like to see it [Planned Parenthood] defunded because we shouldn’t be funding the ending of human life. Nobody should be a part of funding murder.”
According to the founder of Clergy for Choice, Reverend Mark Asman, said that more than 20 local religious leaders support Planned Parenthood.He said that, “As religious leaders, we are committed to sacred, non-violent resistance against religious and political leaders who want to impose their anti-choice agenda on all of us” according to Noozhawk.com.
Many people are aware of Planned Parenthood’s abortion services. Planned Parenthood also provides sexual and reproductive healthcare to five million women, men and adolescents every year. They are the nation’s largest abortion provider and serves “more than a third of the roughly 4 million Americans who receive benefits through the Title X program” as reported by The Washington Post.
The Title X Family Planning program is a federal grant that provides people with family planning and reproductive health or prevention services. The priority for these services is given to people of low-income households, most of whom do not have insurance according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The protests started in response t o U.S. Vice President Mike Pence’s statement at the annual March for Life rally in Washington D.C. CBC reports that Pence spoke of “ending taxpayer-funded abortion and choosing a Supreme Court justice who will uphold ‘God-given’ liberties are among top priorities of the Trump administration.”
Supporters are choosing now to fight back because the Congressional recess was from February 18 - 26. Supporters believe that this is “the single most important recess in Planned Parenthood’s history” according to their Facebook page because Congress will vote on legislation to either continue to fund or defund and shut down Planned Parenthood Centers.