Due to budget disputes within Congress, funding for Planned Parenthood has been threatened. The organization is under fire from Republican Congressmen due to video footage that allegedly shows Planned Parenthood selling fetal tissue to medical researchers. The question of whether it will continue operation is at the forefront of people’s minds, both nationwide and on campus.
Planned Parenthood is one of the largest providers of women’s health and reproductive care in the United States. The organization serves 2.7 million Americans through various services such as LGBTQ inclusive sex education, STI testing, cancer screenings, general health exams and access to contraceptives. Health facilities like Planned Parenthood ensure safe access to these necessary medical procedures that benefit women, men and non-binary conforming people of all ages. “Lobbying for affordable health care is relevant to students because of our potentially limited financial situation and need for a nonjudgmental medical care,” Malika Dale ’16 said. Dale is the co-president of Students for Reproductive Rights (SRR).
This past year, Dale visited Washington, D.C., where she lobbied for reproductive rights. After her trip to Washington, she returned to campus and began to work alongside co-president of SRR Zoe Marquis-Kelly ’18 to host a Pink Out event that was held this past Tuesday, Sept. 29. Throughout the event planning process, Dale, Marquis-Kelly and other SRR members worked closely together to gather information and relevant news stories that show the importance of Planned Parenthood to the lives of many women and men.
On the day of the event, students gath- ered in front of Boe Chapel dressed in pink from head to toe holding posters that read “I am a woman, not a womb” and “Reproductive Freedom for All.” SRR shared a few excerpts from a Huffington Post article about how Planned Parenthood has affected lives nationwide. In addition, a few students shared stories about their own experiences with Planned Parenthood.
Afterward, the assembled students exchanged thoughts and opinions about the embattled organization.
“Planned Parenthood represents how youths can obtain their rights,” Jasmine Aramburu ’18 said. “They can get access to health facilities, and it is unfortunate that momentarily the government wants to cut budgeting for Planned Parenthood because there are people who do need the support that the organization provides”.
Jonathan Hollister ’19 agreed.
“If Planned Parenthood is defunded, it will impact a lot of people...more than we realize, and mostly it will impact America as a whole and what we stand for,” he said.
The event was short, but the protestors made sure to make their message heard.
“[Our goal is to] demonstrate the quantity and diversity of Planned Parenthood supporters on campus and in Northfield and the strength of the social activist net- work on campus,” Dale said. “We wanted to motivate students and Northfielders to talk about their experiences with Planned Parenthood and get the word out to contact their state representatives to ensure state funding of Planned Parenthood and other reproductive health clinics”.
The Pink Out event emphasized the important services that Planned Parenthood provides.
“We need to focus on building a culture based on [Planned Parenthood’s] compassion, empathy, and support for access to basic reproductive health care and those who provide it,” Dale said.
Students can get involved by contacting choice@stolaf.edu to become part of the alias. They will be notified of upcoming events and be able to get involved by sign- ing petitions, volunteering at reproductive health clinics and calling government rep- resentatives to continue allocating funds to Planned Parenthood.