Last Saturday, anti-choice activists gathered in front of nearly 200 Planned Parenthood clinics across the U.S. to call for the complete defunding of the 100 year-old organization. In response, pro-choice activists all over the nation showed their support for Planned Parenthood (and affordable, accessible healthcare in general) by organizing some counter-protests of their own. I got to participate in the counter-rally that happened in St. Louis, Missouri — and it was amazing. Speaking as someone who’s only other experience with protesting happened 20 years ago when my parents took me to a pro-life march that I didn’t want to go to, I was particularly stoked to march the streets of St. Louis in support of reproductive rights and accessible healthcare. (Especially since my buddy loaned me a sign which depicted a fallopian tube giving Donald Trump the finger.)
That said, while the rally itself was definitely an empowering experience for me, hearing my fellow Missourians say why they support Planned Parenthood might have been even more encouraging. While it’s true that reproductive rights are under attack pretty much everywhere, the fight for reproductive freedom has been looking especially grim here in Missouri for some time. In 2016, Missouri legislature turned down over $8 million dollars in federal Medicaid funding just because a portion of it would have gone to Planned Parenthood — and this is despite the fact that Planned Parenthood helps more than 50,000 Missourians each year. All of this combined with Hilary Clinton’s loss last November has left me feeling more disempowered than usual lately, but the interviews I conducted last Saturday have given me a renewed hope for my home state.
Here’s why 28 people support Planned Parenthood — and you should too.
"The PP kept me clean."
"Because life is more than just birth! Support PP, public education, foster care, welfare, sex ed., etc...."
"Women deserve a choice."
"Because affordable healthcare shouldn't be a luxury..."
"Affordable for low income families."
"Because Planned Parenthood offers so much more than abortions...birth control! Cancer screenings! STD testing!"
"Reasons I support Planned Parenthood: free birth control when I was broke, free condoms, STD testing — my friends NEED Planned Parenthood."
"I support Planned Parenthood because I support a woman's right to choose options for her body and her health."
"I support PP because PP supported me."
"Because pro-choice IS pro-life."
"I stand with Planned Parenthood because being sexual is human nature. PP makes this safe for everyone."
"Equality, education, empowerment. #StandwithPP #OnlywithCONSENT"
"I'm a Marxist. I fight for universal healthcare."
"Planned Parenthood took care of ME when I had no insurance."
"I support Planned Parenthood because everyone deserves care and respect."
"I support Planned Parenthood because it's the Christian thing to do!"
"I support PP because they educate youth on healthy sexual practice. Sex is not the enemy!!"
"Unconditional love and support, without judgement, when I was 16 and needed help!"
"Because it raises the quality of life for everyone."
"Mother of four kids needing to leave my husband, chose an abortion so that I could support my children and give them a better life."
"I support Planned Parenthood because sex education/healthcare should be available/affordable for EVERYONE."
Colleen, 18 & Christine, 47
Colleen: "I support Planned Parenthood because I need comprehensive sex education!"
Christine: "Reproductive right are human rights."
"I support Planned Parenthood because abortion is healthcare."
"Because I decide WHEN and IF I become a parent."
"I support Planned Parenthood because healthcare should be for everyone, and PP fills those gaps for the most needy."
"Being self-employed without benefits, Planned Parenthood allowed me to have access to women's health without insurance."
Images: Elizabeth Enochs/Bustle