Written by Annyston Pennington and Kristi Kamesch.
Today, November 6th, in front of Gregory Gym on UT’s campus, the pro-life organization Texas Students for Life conducted a demonstration against Planned Parenthood. The protest, called, “The Planned Parenthood Project,” involves a traveling display at campuses all over the country, which includes 897 pink crosses lined up on the ground. According to Texas Students for Life, these crosses represent the 897 abortions performed by Planned Parenthood each day. Ashley Rappaport, the president of Texas Students for Life explained, however, in a brief interview with The Liberator that the 897 number is only “25% of the abortions that occur every day.”
Inspiration for hosting the event came from the surfacing of a recent video (potential trigger warning) by the Center for Medical Progress, an anti-abortion organization, which regarded alleged malpractice and use of “baby parts” by Planned Parenthood for profit. Though TSL has put on this event in the past, the controversy and contention surrounding the legitimacy and implications of the video has ignited pro-life and pro-choice discourse.
The demonstration outside of Gregory Gym not only included the pink crosses but also standing posters outlining statistics regarding Planned Parenthood’s activities and alternative sources for women’s healthcare. According to the posters and another member of TSL, 86% of Planned Parenthood’s profits come from abortions—a number which allegedly came from Cecile Richards, the CEO of PP. Another poster stated that 94% of Planned Parenthood’s services regarded abortion. When asked about the discrepancy of this statistic with Planned Parenthood’s numbers, reporting only 3% of their services as abortion-related, Rappaport said that TSL’s statistic utilized pregnancy-related services while PP’s statistic referenced all of their services.
Rappaport stated that while she has no qualms with [Planned Parenthood’s additional] services, she believed that the fact that PP performs abortions at all “should rule them out of federal funding.”
Rappaport also noted that Planned Parenthood receives $500 million in federal funding, and even though they are not legally allowed to use this money on abortion procedures, she says that PP will use the funds to pay for services unrelated to abortion, freeing other money for use on abortion costs. When asked about the other services PP offers—such as breast cancer screenings, vaccinations, and other general health care—Rappaport stated that while she has no qualms with these services, she believed that the fact that PP performs abortions at all “should rule them out of federal funding.” Rappaport utilized this transition to then promote other health centers which are less known but provide similar services for men and women—except abortion.
When asked about the claims made by TSL, [Richelle King] said that their statistics were “un-sourced, out of context, and manipulate[ed] the numbers to fit the pro-life narrative.”
Later into the day, students supporting Planned Parenthood arrived at the Gregory plaza to protest TSL’s demonstration. Richelle King was interviewed as a student protestor. She said that she was there to support the Feminist Action Project, a campus organization, but that she is also associated with Planned Parenthood Leadership and Advocacy. King had heard about the demonstration four months ago and had organized with Feminist United and the Texas Freedom Network in response.
King said she stands for the provision of services to people who need affordable healthcare, including young people and undocumented citizens. When asked about the claims made by TSL, she said that their statistics were “un-sourced, out of context, and manipulate[ed] the numbers to fit the pro-life narrative.”
Photos courtesy of JoJo Phillips
More information will be added should new developments arise.
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