By Carol McCracken (Post # 2,432)
Monument Square was a sea of pink T-shirts at noon today as supporters of the embattled Planned Parenthood gathered to respond to conservatives in the US Congress who are trying to defund Planned Parenthood, “PP”, or shut down the federal government – another attempt of Republicans to limit access to women’s health care and in particular its abortion services for low-income women – despite Rowe v. Wade of 1973.
PP has come under fire recently because of under cover videos that were released manipulating scenes from a conversation with PP employees. Carly Fiorina, a Republican candidate for president, has been particularly effective in politicizing the discussion of defunding PP. Meanwhile, PP supporters want Republicans to remove themselves from their doctors’ offices and their agendas from their bedrooms. This is a matter best left to the woman and her doctor, PP supporters say.
One by one women took to the stage to tell their stories of how PP came to their rescue when they needed birth control assistance, an abortion or other specialized health care. Because of their low-income status, there were no other places to turn to. Among the numerous speakers was State Senator Cathy Breen. She said she was raised in a comfortable family where the subject of sex was never discussed. But when she needed information, PP was there for her. Sara Gideon, Maine House Assistant Majority Leader, said that “women’s health is a political football. Women’s healthcare is not available for black mail.” About twenty-five people spoke of their support for PP and its vital role in women’s health care in Maine.
Meanwhile, US Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, (D), wrote in a press release that a hearing held in DC was designed to intimidate PP and providers of women’s healthcare. “Cecile Richards didn’t back down and stood up for the high quality healthcare that PP provides to 2.7 million women. It was disappointing to see my colleagues badger and attack her,” Pingree wrote. “The attacks were baseless and without merit and intended to intimidate Ms. Richards. It didn’t work and Republican leaders behind these attacks should be ashamed.”
The hearing was convened by Republicans on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and included testimony from Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood.
Eliza Townsend, of Maine Women’s Lobby said: “We stand with PP that the right to make a health decision is ours. It should not be used by politicians to score political points.”