Story by Ithaca Voice Intern Anna Lamb
A freeze mob of more than 40 Planned Parenthood supporters gathered on the Ithaca Commons Wednesday in response to the GOP health-care bill, which could restrict the organization’s funding.
The gathering was one of many nationwide Planned Parenthood protests this week against “Trumpcare.”
The bill, which hasn’t been finalized yet, prohibits federal funding to Planned Parenthood for one year and restricts Medicaid reimbursement for the organization. In New York, 100,000 Medicaid recipients rely on Planned Parenthood health centers for care, according to Planned Parenthood, and the Planned Parenthood of the Southern Finger Lakes serves more than 10,000 local patients a year.
“What that would look like is lots of people on Medicaid not being able to choose Planned Parenthood because we wouldn’t be reimbursed,” Public Affairs Director Ashleigh McGuire said.
A crowd of about 40 people spread out across the Commons wearing pink ‘I stand with Planned Parenthood’ shirts, holding signs in silence for five minutes. The signs read “These doors stay open” and “2.4 million patients are at risk of losing health-care.”
There was also a sign that read “Shame on Reed for voting to take away healthcare for thousands of his constituents,” referring to Congressman Tom Reed of the Finger Lakes’ 23rd district who voted to repeal Obamacare.
Preceding the freeze mob, McGuire also addressed the recent statement by President Donald Trump that transgender individuals are not fit to serve in the military.
“Planned Parenthood of the Southern Finger Lakes absolutely denounces that,” McGuire said. “We provide care for all trans folks and people no matter what and everyone should be able to serve in the US military.”
Based on what happens in the Senate with the health-care bill, McGuire said Planned Parenthood is prepared to take action in the following weeks to make their voices heard.
“If the Senate votes yes, we’ll have a rapid response rally,” said McGuire. “We’re always working to respond to what’s happening.”