Local supporters join Planned Parenthood Pink Out Day

Planned Parenthood South Texas offers free STD testing

By Cory Smith - VJ, Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - Clad in bright pink, more than a dozen Planned Parenthood supporters held a rally Tuesday as part of National Pink Out Day.

Similar rallies were scheduled in nearly 90 cities across the country, as the organization continues to fight attempts to strip its federal funding. The national day of action comes as the group's president, Cecile Richards, testified on Capitol Hill.

Richards was grilled by congressional Republicans for several hours. Criticism of the group has reached a fever pitch after several edited videos of Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale of fetal tissue were published.

Supporters said the vast majority of work being done by Planned Parenthood does not involve abortion services, but the issue continues to overshadow the other services it provides.

"Planned Parenthood is first and foremost about prevention. We provide family planning, contraception, breast cancer and cervical cancer screenings," said Mara Posada, Planned Parenthood of South Texas director of communications. "We are equally proud of all of our services. Sometimes though, and often times lately, abortion care kind of takes over, and we want to make sure that people are aware of all of our services."

Marisa Gonzalez led a number of chants during the rally. She said attempts to strip Planned Parenthood of funding are a direct attack on women's health.

"It's not just about abortion, but it's about the access to contraceptives, to education, to their rights," she said. "These are their rights to health care."

Scattered among the crowd were several men, including Jamarr Brown. He said standing in solidarity with supporters is about protecting men's access to health care as well.

"Part of my being here, and also other men joining this movement, is to make sure that we're providing that access for women across the state, but that we're also making sure that men receive these services," Brown said.

While supporters spoke out in defense of the organization, Planned Parenthood of South Texas let its actions speak for itself by offering free STD testing.

Even with their funding in jeopardy, Posada said Planned Parenthood will persevere.

"We will continue to be here. We've been here with and without funding," Posada said. "Here in Texas, we've lost funding and we're still here. We're not going anywhere."

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