Although the wind off the Bay was chilly, it did not deter about one hundred women and men Saturday morning wrapped in overcoats and mufflers from rallying along Grandview Parkway in support of services supplied by Planned Parenthood, deemed controversial by some and critically important by others. They were joined by another fifty or so who gathered in front of the Planned Parenthood offices in the Walker Health Center at 1135 E. Eight Street.
BJ Christenson who came down to join the rally from Cedar, Michigan, said “I am here today because I want to support cancer screening that is part of Planned Parenthood. I am a 26-year cancer survivor. I had seven of 12 lymph nodes tested positive so I was very high risk. Planned Parenthood does a lot to help people with cancer screening. I also want to support the fact that women should have safe, legal, accessible abortions because one in four women can expect to be raped or sexually assaulted in their lifetime. I was five years old when I was assaulted. Abortion is something women need to be able to do.”
Deb Dureen related, “I’m here because I strongly support Planned Parenthood. It was a service I used way back in the late 70’s when I went there for [birth control] pills when I became sexually active. My daughter who is pregnant now used Planned Parenthood’s services until she wanted to become pregnant. I just think it’s a wonderful place for young women to go, all women to go, for healthcare for that type of thing.”
Men like John Edwards defended abortion services provided by Planned Parenthood: “I’m here to support Planned Parenthood and women’s right to choose. I don’t feel it’s anybody else’s business what a person does with their body. It’s been around for a long and probably does more to save people from an unwanted pregnancy by providing funding for abortion services. I think it’s just a descent thing to do. I’m concerned that the administration in office now could take all of that away from women.”
Jody, a fourteen-year-old high school student who carried a sign depicting a coat hanger said, “I go to Leland Public Schools. I’m here because I just want the future for myself to be better, for my friends to be better. I don’t want hanger abortions to happen again.
The origins of Planned Parenthood date to October 16, 1916, when Margaret Sanger, her sister Ethel Byrne, and Fania Mindell opened the first birth control clinic in the U.S. in the Brownsville section of the New York borough of Brooklyn. In 1922, Margaret, founded Planned Parenthood and served as its first president.
Planned Parenthood is a non-profit organization that provides healthcare and reproductive care nationwide to men, women, and adolescents with over 650 clinics and 65 affiliates across the United States. They provide contraception, cancer screenings, pap tests, breast exams, check-ups, pre-natal care, nutritional services and testing for STD’s to mainly poor men and women. One in five women, and 2.5 million people visit Planned Parenthood and their affiliates every year. Abortions are not federally funded.