By Jordan E, West Michigan Intern
Planned Parenthood does healthcare. And sex ed. And distributes condoms. These are the things I have known for YEARS. These are the things most of us have probably known for years. What I did not know until yesterday, however, was how much of a POWERHOUSE Planned Parenthood is in political advocacy.
Yesterday morning, I rode the elevator of an office building in Lansing with a tall, kind, poised, and stunning woman in a pink coat. Minutes later I found out that she was the President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan! She spoke to a room of over 60 volunteers and advocates early on a rainy Tuesday. She challenged the room to continue the hard work of advocacy and left us with a few very important facts. Two stood out to me in particular:
Every County in Michigan has a veterinarian. 24 Counties in Michigan do NOT have an OB/GYN.
The state of Michigan gives $0 to Planned Parenthood yet wants to refuse disbursing Federal dollars to the organization, which serves women across the state that lack necessary healthcare.
Lori Carpentier fired up the room and set the stage for U.S. Senator Gary Peters. When you know a Senator is coming all the way from Washington, D.C., despite being from Michigan, you have certain expectations. You expect a large team of staff, security everywhere, and a stuffy, distant personality; not this guy. Senator Peters is warm, witty, and knowledgeable. He commented on the need for change, the need for more people to be involved in politics, and the need for the Democratic Party to refine its message.
The next step in this monumental morning was to head across the street to the Capitol to actively participate in the legislative process. Some state legislators in Michigan have initiated actions that would disallow the distribution of federal healthcare funds to Planned Parenthood. We were empowered to share our voice, in person, to the very people who disagree with us. We visited all 46 offices of the co-sponsors of Senate Bill 162 and House Bill 4221. What a task!
Before yesterday, I had only seen the Michigan State Capitol twice, and had never stepped inside. With every step, the beautiful and ornate architecture surrounds you. It almost feels too important and too special for a regular person to walk around, but no one stops you. In fact, they encourage you to come into offices wait patiently for you to state your piece. Even when you know they’re going to disagree with you, they wait or you to tell them that you disagree, that you care about legislation and that you support Planned Parenthood.
I have voted for years, but I have never had a single moment where I felt more politically involved.
So yes, Planned Parenthood provides healthcare. And yes, they distribute condoms and teach sex ed. But Planned Parenthood also empowers you to walk into a Senator’s office and demand healthcare for all.
If you couldn’t join us yesterday, you can still take action around your support for Planned Parenthood. We need you to call your Congressional Representative and Senator and tell them you’re a part of the overwhelming majority that opposes defunding care at Planned Parenthood health centers. Tell themyou’re ready to fight like hell to protect reproductive health and rights in his country. Tell them you stand with Planned Parenthood.
Jordan E is a sassy family scientist and researcher. Follow her journey as an outsider becomes a local Planned Parenthood Activist. FMOT @KwueenEbanaya