On Saturday, Feb. 25, a “Stand with Planned Parenthood” rally was held at the Hilton Milwaukee City Center. The event had many avid speakers who were very passionate on the topic of Planned Parenthood. Besides promoting Planned Parenthood, the rally served to send a message to politicians that everyone deserves access to essential health care and request that they protect Planned Parenthood.
Speaker Paul Ryan recently publicized to end funding for 50,000 Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin patients in the near future, striking an upset with Planned Parenthood advocates.
While outside the Hilton, protestors gathered, inside a tremendous crowd of people of all ages showed for the rally, filling the Hilton’s Crystal Ballroom and any rooms surrounding it that gave a glimpse of the event. The atmosphere was filled with passion and determination.
“It’s not just women we’re here for, it’s men, it’s our brothers and sisters…having basic rights in our United States,” said Planned Parenthood supporter, Nick Bankhead. He went on to discuss his disappointment in our government and that it’s “like our constitution is getting crumpled up and stomped on.”
Many people held signs depicting their anger towards Speaker Paul Ryan and other political figures who oppose Planned Parenthood.
Among others, some of the fervent speakers at the rally were Cecile Richards, CEO and president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Congresswoman Gwen Moore, Tanya Atkinson, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, State Senator LaTonya Johnson and State Representative JaCasta Zamarripa. Nancy Flores from Voces de la Frontera and Astar Herndon, the 9to5 Wisconsin representative also spoke.
Voces de la Frontera is an organization that focuses on defeating poverty and discrimination among all people. 9to5 Wisconsin is an organization that is devoted to making people aware of women’s matters and acting on these issues.
“We gotta link arms, we gotta fight back, we gotta stand up,” said Cecile Richards as supporters eagerly hung on every word of the speakers. Richards boldly indicated that Planned Parenthood is the solution, and she and others weren’t going to let anyone threaten to take away that solution without a fight.
Congresswoman Gwen Moore stated that Planned Parenthood allows women to “decide to have a child when [they’re] ready to have a child.” Moore made claims that Planned Parenthood offers affordable, high-quality care, followed by a roar of cheers from the crowd.
“We will not back down…our doors WILL stay open,” said Tanya Atkinson.
Succeeding the ceremony, supporters Dawn Balistreri and Susan Odegaard agreed with what was said by the leaders of the organization.
“We’re stronger together…there’s so much at stake here,” said Balistreri.
“I believe it is possible to defeat the tyranny that has taken over our government,” Odegaard said in regards to Paul Ryan. She shared similar opinions and discussed how she hopes Planned Parenthood remains in the realm in the future for the sake of her children and grandchildren to utilize.
House Speaker Paul Ryan’s office reacted to the rally by stating: “Our goal is making sure women get the kind of care they need and we believe that can best be achieved by putting money into community health centers, which provide similar services as Planned Parenthood but vastly outnumber them.”
Planned Parenthood supporters know their voices were heard and hope that Congress acts in favor of them now and in the future.