Advocates march to defend Planned Parenthood

Thousands+gather+in+solidarity+to+protect+Planned+Parenthood.

Thousands gather in solidarity to protect Planned Parenthood.

Jessica Clemons, Staff Writer

Thousands of Planned Parenthood partners, patients and advocates marched in solidarity on Saturday Feb. 11 at Moonlight Beach in Escondido in an effort to prevent the defunding of Planned Parenthood clinics.

In light of recent events following the presidential inauguration, millions of citizens throughout the nation have continued to protest actions taken by the White House. In particular, how President Trump has expressed interest in cutting federal funding to Planned Parenthood due to the fact that they offer abortions. On Feb. 11, a march was organized in efforts to give Planned Parenthood supporters a voice to be heard by their local government and people of surrounding communities, as a response to the new administration.

The march began at Moonlight Beach and stretched along Highway 101, with local police officers making sure the protesters marched safely.

Men and women stood with their signs high chanting “My body my choice!”, and “This is what democracy looks like!” as cars drove by honking in support and cheering on the marchers. After the majority had finished the march, hundreds of people stood together back at Moonlight Beach and continued to raise their voices to keep the chants going.

Co-organizer of the Defend Planned Parenthood March, Sophia Stremel spoke about why she believed this march was important. “Not only should women have reproductive choice, they should have access to the many services that Planned Parenthood provides.” Those services include breast exams, pap smears, contraceptive options, cancer screenings, STD testing and treatment, and more for women and men at little to no cost.

One of the speakers at the march was Planned Parenthood employee Hillary Watchler, who said “We are never going to stop fighting for affordable, accessible, reproductive healthcare.” After giving the story of her experience with Planned Parenthood, Watchler continued, saying, “My Planned Parenthood story isn’t dramatic, and that is the point.”

Elena Scott, co-organizer of the Defend Planned Parenthood March, said “We’re hoping to show our local government and our representatives that their constituents care about Planned Parenthood and our representatives need to represent us.”