With the support of Students Against Social Injustice, Geneseo’s Voices for Planned Parenthood Club hosted an event for Pink Out Day on Tuesday Sept. 29. The aim was to increase consciousness of the crucial role Planned Parenthood holds in the United States, particularly in the wake of recent allegations and attacks.
“It was an event that took place nationally. For our purposes we called it ‘Geneseo Turns Pink for Planned Parenthood,’” VOX president and women’s studies representative junior Stephanie Gerspacher said. “We were just trying to show as much support as possible by getting people to wear pink, change their profile pictures with the ‘#StandWithPP’ pink filter on their Facebook pages and also by coming to our teach-in.”
Planned Parenthood is an organization that has been engulfed by a media frenzy lately. With rumors spreading, heated political debate occurring and the threat of loss of government backing and cooperation, the Planned Parenthood action fund decided to declare a national Pink Out Day to raise awareness about its necessity.
“This is the first year for the event—it was specifically spurred by the attacks in Congress to try to defund Planned Parenthood and the alleged videos that were put out by the center for medical progress,” Gerspacher said.
VOX Club tabled in the MacVittie College Union most of the day leading up to the event to attract participants and to collect signatures on petitions saying they stand in support of Planned Parenthood.
At the teach-in hosted at the Fireside Lounge, VOX Club members answered questions and started a discussion about the controversy that has been unfolding in the media regarding the purpose of Planned Parenthood. The club also provided information about the location and services of the closest Planned Parenthood clinic in Rochester. They guided an educational group discussion based on informal Q&A and prompts regarding topics such as the definition of consent—including a couple of personal accounts about Planned Parenthood experiences and the impact the organization had on those people’s lives.
The tabling effort garnered over 50 petition signatures and the teach-in event attracted about 15 attendees. “We had someone come who said she wasn’t really pro-choice but wanted to hear the other side of the story,” Gerspacher said. “It was awesome that she was able to have such an open mind and hear everyone out.”
There have been national increases of arson at Planned Parenthood clinics and attacks on abortion doctors and patients in correlation with increased levels of criticism for the organization. The damage is still fresh at a Planned Parenthood in Washington that was set ablaze on Sept. 4.
The increasing numbers of acts of aggression against Planned Parenthood in the U.S. are igniting a push to increase the public’s awareness regarding the organization through its supporters. It is a national issue in which local communities such as Geneseo are getting involved.
“Despite the fact that the closest Planned Parenthood is a ways away in Rochester, people from this community still go there,” Gerspacher said. “Planned Parenthood is one of the most trusted places to go for reproductive health care for both men and women—so the point of the event was to show we’re not going to back down just because people are attacking us. We believe everyone deserves health care.”