WNPR

Hundreds Rally To Support Women's Health And Reproductive Rights

Jan 19, 2017

Rebecca Cavallo told a story about being in an unhealthy relationship, and Planned Parenthood was there to help her, after she began experiencing side effects because her boyfriend had thrown away her birth control pills.

"But they didn't judge me -- or they didn't judge my relationship -- and they got me into the office within the hour," Cavallo said.

Cavallo was one of hundreds of women, men, and some children who braved the cold January air, marching the streets of Hartford while carrying pink signs with white letters, with phrases like, "Don't take away our care" and "I stand with Planned Parenthood."

Women's rights have come under fire lately, as Republicans have vowed to defund Planned Parenthood, which gets about half a billion dollars of federal money every year. That's 40 percent of its total revenue. With the GOP controlling the House, Senate, and the White House, reproductive rights advocates are worried this threat is real.

"We're talking about prevention, we're talking about what prevents an unintended pregnancy, and the need for abortion," said Judy Tabar, president of Planned Parenthood of Southern New England. "It's so important to continue to fund prevention services."

Her group services about 70,000 patients a year in Connecticut and Rhode Island -- most of them women with low income.

In its annual report, Planned Parenthood asserts that only a small portion of services go toward abortions. Federal law only allows federal dollars to be used for abortions if the pregnancy is due to rape, incest, or if it threatens the mother's life.

"That's been the law for some time," said Tabar. "It's not anything we agree with but it is the law."

Even though Connecticut has some of the least restrictive abortion laws in the country, Tabar said nothing can be taken for granted.

The Hartford rally was organized by Connecticut Coalition for Choice, which is a group of organizations that support a woman's right to choose. The rally also called on support for the rights of the LGBT community, immigrants, and the Black Lives Matter movement.