The color pink is often associated with all things feminine. This week, advocates of Planned Parenthood donned the color in support of the organization.
The nonprofit healthcare organization provides its services throughout the U.S. focused on the general and reproductive health of women, men and children from all walks of life. In recent weeks, some Republican members of the Senate have threatened a federal shutdown unless all government funding to the organization is stopped.
“As of right now, Planned Parenthood is largely federally funded, and there is a large push in Congress to pull that funding,” said Seattle University Society of Feminists President Mackenzie Reed. “I would say the defunding threat towards Planned Parenthood is based largely on misinformation.”
Many members of the Republican Party want to cut funding to Planned Parenthood because the organization provides abortions at many of its locations. However, as creative writing and women and gender studies major Gabriel Ferri pointed out, abortions are privately funded.
“Once I found out that Planned Parenthood does not use federal funding for abortions, I began to wonder, ‘Where does that funding go?’” Ferri said. “I think it’s now time for us to think critically about where these resources go, how they affect communities of color, trans people, [and so on]. These are questions we need to raise.”
“It will be women and men nationwide standing together to say: We’re not backing down, not today, not ever.”
According to Planned Parenthood’s online records, the organization’s services break down as follows: STD/STI screenings and treatment account for 35 percent, contraception, another 35 percent, cancer screening and prevention accounts for 16 percent, other women’s services make up 10 percent and abortion services account for roughly 3 percent of Planned Parenthood services. The remaining 1 percent is allotted to a category deemed “other.”
According to various polls, many Catholic universities have positive relationships with Planned Parenthood. According to an investigative report published in 2015 by The Cardinal Newman Society, Seattle U employs adjunct faculty members who have previously worked at Planned Parenthood, and provides scholarships to students who have proclaimed themselves Planned Parenthood activists. Mount Saint Mary’s University and University of San Diego, among many other colleges, were also referenced in the report.
“I think the biggest thing that would be relevant to SU students is…the resources that Planned Parenthood can provide to anyone,” Reed said. “They are clearly designed for low income—that subset of the population—and I think college students especially can really gain value from that.”
Kristen Wieliczka, a Seattle U alum who graduated in 2015 with degrees in women and gender studies and political science, supports Planned Parenthood as well.
“[This issue] is important to students and young adults because [Planned Parenthood] is a primary organization for education about our health, and it’s especially important to people who don’t have insurance or any other options,” Wieliczka said.
Wieliczka and Reed agree that the services Planned Parenthood offer are useful for more people than just students, and in fact are incredibly and increasingly important to minorities, people in rural areas and others who may not have access to a primary physician.
Reed and Wieliczka are not alone in recognizing the challenge many people would face if Planned Parenthood loses funding. On Tuesday, the University of Washington hosted Pink Out Day, a rally in support of
The Pink Out Day website describes the event as “Our time to say: Listen to over a million Americans who are sick and tired of the relentless attacks on reproductive health care. Listen to the one in five American women who has received care at a Planned Parenthood health center.”
According to the webiste, the event aims to tell anti-abortion extremists and politicians that advocated are everywhere and we will not llow the shut down of the health centers.
“It will be women and men nationwide standing together to say: ‘We’re not backing down, not today, not ever,’” the website said.
Halei Watkins, the Seattle Regional Field Organizer with Planned Parenthood Northwest and Hawaii, hosted the Pink Out event at UW this past week.
“These [Pink Out] events are happening in conjunction with what’s happening in DC,” Watkins said.
Watkins is referring to the delivery of 2.3 million petition signatures to Congress, when Cecile Richards—President of Planned Parenthood—testified in front of Congress on September 29 to protect the government funding going to Planned Parenthood.
The final Senate decisions regarding Planned Parenthood will be made in the coming days.
“I think that college students use our services at a pretty big rate,” Watkins said. “I wouldn’t have made it through college, probably, if it weren’t for Planned Parenthood, and I know that there are many, many other men and women in that same boat.”
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