On February 11, 2017, people took to the streets across the United States to take a stand for Planned Parenthood in response to a movement to defund the nonprofit healthcare provider. Protests against the organization were planned initially by anti-choice organizations, creating a movement for counter-protest by pro-choice activists.
This weekend continued the resistance fighting back against the government's plans to strip away a number of human rights. The Defend Planned Parenthood protest in Detroit greatly outnumbered the Defund Planned Parenthood protest, with hundreds attending to defend and a couple dozen attending to defund.
What Sparked the Defend/Defund Protests?
Planned Parenthood has come into the spotlight in recent years concerning federal spending after anti-choice individuals released a video attempting to prove that Planned Parenthood sold baby parts after abortions. This, however, was proven false by a federal judge back in 2015, who said that the recordings did not prove this claim nor did it show criminal activity and served to put Planned Parenthood clinics at risk to violence. The clinics have faced serious threats for years, from simple threatening notes to the terror attacks at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado after which the white male shooter claimed he was "a warrior for the babies."
The nonprofit is the largest not-for-profit provider of healthcare services in the United States, and believes that it is the fundamental right of every person in the world to have control over one's own health and fertility regardless of race, sex, gender, income, marital status, sexual orientation, age, national origin, or residence.
Patients seek a wide range of services from Planned Parenthood. In fact, abortions only account for 3% of all the services that the healthcare facility provides. The other 97% accounts for everything else, including:
-Pregnancy tests, with 1.1 million given in 2014
-Prenatal care, to over 17,000 in 2014
-Cervical cancer screenings (pap smears), to over 270,000 per year
-Breast cancer screenings (mammograms, breast exams), to over 360,000 per year
-Providing sexual education to 1.5 million young and grown people across the United States per year
-34% accounts for contraception
-Vasectomies and Hysterectomies
-42% accounts for sexually transmitted infection and disease screening, with 4.2 million tests and treatments provided in 2014
-Research on reproductive health
62% of Planned Parenthood facilities offer same-day appointments, and 78% offer appointments during extended hours to allow the utmost accessibility to their patients.
Currently, Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan has said that Republicans will attempt to remove federal funding through Medicaid for the healthcare provider, sparking concern for many.
The fate of Planned Parenthood is still unknown, but as many protectors of Planned Parenthood have said, "The resistance will not be silenced. Nevertheless, we persist."
The following are images from the Detroit protest.