Thousands of Planned Parenthood supporters, including Democratic members of Congress, turned out at a rally on Saturday in Boston to protest funding cuts.
The rally, hosted by the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts, started at 11 a.m. on Boston Common.
“I’ve seen firsthand what happens when people don’t get the health care they need. But it doesn’t take a doctor to know that defunding Planned Parenthood would be disastrous for our nation’s health — and the people who would be hurt most are those already struggling to get by,” said Dr. Jennifer Childs-Roshak, president and CEO of PPLM and PPAF. “Everyone — no matter their zip code, race, immigration status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or income — deserves access to high-quality, affordable health care.”
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At the rally patients, health care providers, advocates, elected officials, and community members called on members of Congress to put patients ahead of politics.
Among those at the event were U.S. Reps. Michael Capuano, Katherine Clark, Seth Moulton, Niki Tsongas and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.
“Attempts to defund Planned Parenthood are nothing more than a tactical strike on the health care options for low-income women, men, and families. We will not sit silently as the Trump Administration and GOP-led Congress attack not only the constitutionally guaranteed right to have an abortion, but basic access to preventive care for millions of Americans,” Congressman Joseph Kennedy said.
The rally comes after House Republicans drafted a bill last week that would repeal the Affordable Care Act, including a provision to “defund” Planned Parenthood.
Supporters say defunding Planned Parenthood would block millions of patients from accessing the preventive care they need. Patients would be prohibited from using their insurance at Planned Parenthood health centers for preventive care, such as cancer screenings, pap tests, birth control, and STD testing and treatment, including HIV tests.
The Boston Globe reported on Friday that the Bay State's five Planned Parenthood clinics would lose up to $2 million a year from its budget of $21.5 million in the event the organization's federal funds are cut.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker's administration says it's prepared to increase state funds for Planned Parenthood clinics if Congress blocks Medicaid funding for the organization.
A spokeswoman for the governor told the Globe that Baker strongly supports women's health and believes Massachusetts has a responsibility to make sure Planned Parenthood services remain available for all state residents.