Maine “pinks out” for Planned Parenthood
An estimated 350 Mainers wearing shades of pink rallied in Monument Square in Portland on Tuesday as part of a nationwide show of support for Planned Parenthood. The health clinics are currently under attack by anti-abortion rights activists and Republican leaders in Congress, who are seeking to stop federal funds from going to the organization for cancer screenings, birth control, and other health programs.
“Today, we are fighting back,” said Nicole Clegg, Director of Public Affairs, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England. “Advancing women’s access to reproductive health care is absolutely essential to Maine’s and the country’s economic success and we call upon the nation’s leaders to embrace science, embrace medicine, and embrace opportunity for women.”
More than 10,000 patients visited Planned Parenthood in Maine last year, and the clinics provided $3.5 million in free or discounted care. 66% of Maine patients earned less than $17,505 a year.
“When I was in my 20s I usually worked at least two jobs, waiting tables and per diem social work positions, but none of my employers offered comprehensive health insurance,” said Jennie Pirkl, an organizer for the Maine People’s Alliance who spoke at the event. “Planned Parenthood was easily accessible and affordable. It was only there that I could get the health care I needed to stay on the pill to treat my endometriosis. Planned Parenthood was there for me when I needed it, and it needs to be there when my daughter needs it.”
More than 200 similar events were held across the country, at the same time as Planned Parenthood head Cecile Richards defended the organization before a House Committee.
“We have a message for Maine’s congressional delegation–and especially Congressman Bruce Poliquin, who specifically told Maine Public Radio he wouldn’t vote to cut such important health care for so many women, and four days later did exactly that,” said Maine People’s Alliance Associate Director Amy Halsted, speaking at the rally. “When it comes to your votes on defunding of Planned Parenthood, your choice is clear: you can stand with Maine women and their families OR stand with a handful of extremists with an ideological agenda that is not shared by the majority of Americans. You can’t do both.“
The rally garnered significant media attention. Some of the most comprehensive included this article in the Portland Press Herald and a story on a visit to a Planned Parenthood clinic on Maine Public Radio.
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