UA stands in solidarity with Planned Parenthood at Pink Out event
Alex Ross, vice president of VOX: Voices for Planned Parenthood, takes a selfie with Anna Keene, president of VOX, at their Pink Out event on the UA Mall on Tuesday, Sept. 29. Pink Out was a nationwide event to stand in solidarity with Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood declared Tuesday to be National Pink Out Day, and UA students advocated for the organization by hosting a Pink Out event on the UA Mall in response to the 241 House Representatives who voted to defund Planned Parenthood on Sept. 18.
UA’s VOX: Voices for Planned Parenthood hosted the Pink Out on the mall, providing free items, such as condoms and stickers, and offered ways for students to show their support for Planned Parenthood. Students could sign cards for the local Planned Parenthood in Tucson, take pictures with their signs and hashtags and receive information about Planned Parenthood and its mission.
VOX President Anna Keen said that engaging students, advocating for reproductive rights and getting students more involved on campus and raising political awareness is its mission.
Keen, who has been volunteering with Planned Parenthood since she was 14, said she’s seen the organization go through a lot, especially with cuts to funding.
Planned Parenthood should be supported and not defunded, Keen said, because it is an amazing organization that provides support and life-saving healthcare to millions of people around the world everyday, giving patients everything from cancer screenings to education about preventing teen pregnancy.
“Sometimes I get frustrated with the government, but I do believe that we can fight back, that we will stay resilient and that we’re fighting for a good cause,” Keen said.
Keen said VOX wanted to advocate as much as possible and show that students vote and care about Planned Parenthood.
She said that everyone can support the cause simply by having those important conversations about why reproductive justice is necessary and about their feelings concerning certain issues surrounding Planned Parenthood.
Feminists Organized to Resist, Create, Change, and Empower worked alongside VOX to give support, help people register to vote and give them the opportunity to write letters to representatives.
Margot Luna, a sophomore studying political science and French, as well as a FORCE intern, explained why she stands with Planned Parenthood.
“I support Planned Parenthood because I don’t think we have a right to tell women what they can and cannot do with their own bodies,” Luna said. “I think to take that choice away from women is to degrade them to the lowest point imaginable.”
Margarita Abad, an engineering junior, said she came to the Pink Out event because she believes Planned Parenthood is one of the few clinics that offers affordable quality care, which she believes is critical after her mother was diagnosed with cancer months after not receiving quality care.
Abad said her mom could have received less chemotherapy, had fewer surgeries and spent less time at the hospital if she would have been able to go to a clinic with quality care in the first place.
“The reason I’m out here is because I feel like the people who are voting to defund Planned Parenthood don’t really understand the ramifications this is going to have on all women—especially on women with low- income status, who rely on Planned Parenthood services for reproductive and general health,” said FORCE intern Melissa Quiceno, a senior studying speech, language and hearing science.
ACommunity organizer for Planned Parenthood, Raíz Melissa Garcia, was also in attendance and represented Planned Parenthood at the Pink Out event on the mall.
Planned Parenthood Raíz is a program that focuses on Latino communities by making sure that they are not only aware of the services the organization offers, but also spurring the community into action.
“I believe college students should get engaged with [Planned Parenthood] not only to educate themselves, but to bring awareness on the importance of taking care of yourself,” Garcia said.
Garcia graduated from college two years ago and said she relied on basic services from Planned Parenthood, such as education on how to take of herself and know her body, because her parents always thought it was a taboo topic.
“I believe that, as a woman, I have [my] own choice of what to do with my body, and I will continue to fight for having that right,” Garcia said. “People should support Planned Parenthood because Planned Parenthood is there for you regardless of your color, regardless of your status and always cares, no matter what.”
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