Students rally for family planning

A rally on the New Haven Green Wednesday afternoon protested budget cuts to reproductive health programs with slogans like, “Keep your rosaries off my ovaries” and, “Hey, hey, mister, mister, get your laws off my sister!”

Roughly 45 New Haven residents and students and from Yale and other nearby universities congregated outside Dwight Hall on Old Campus at 4:30 p.m. before marching to the Green, shouting chants and carrying signs. They were protesting the elimination of Title X, a federal program providing services related to contraception, pregnancy and sexual health that the Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted to cut Feb. 19.

“Eliminating this is bad policy and bad politics,” Planned Parenthood community organizer Gretchen Raffa said at yesterday’s protest. “This does everything to harm women and families.”

If the government discontinues Title X, many clinics will have to increase what they charge for contraceptives and medical services, pushing costs onto patients who are often below the poverty line, according to Planned Parenthood. The House is also attempting to terminate federal funding for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the largest sexual health care provider in the United States.

In the 2010-’11 fiscal year federal budget, Title X programs were allotted a total of $317 million to fund annual exams, cancer screenings, contraception, and testing and treatment of sexually transmitted infections, according to Planned Parenthood’s website. Due to a temporary extension bill for federal funding passed in the House of Representatives, Congress has until March 18 to finalize next year’s federal budget and decide the future of Title X.

Protesters in New Haven criticized the House, accusing Republicans of creating “a war on women’s health care.” Several students and community members made speeches on the Green about the importance of federal funding for reproductive health.

Tessa Marquis, a resident of Milford, advised students to ask their parents and grandparents about how difficult it was to get reproductive care before Planned Parenthood existed.

Another protestor, New Haven resident Cyn Chegwidden, said she “was almost in tears” at the idea of Title X programs losing funding.

Yalies were also vocal in their defense of Title X. Courtney Peters ’12, a member of Community Health Educators, came to the rally dressed as a “King Sized Condom.” Peters said that the Peer Health Educators have both a condom and a penis costume, adding that she has used both costumes for recent rallies in support of Planned Parenthood.

The rally was jointly organized by the Liberal Party of the Yale Political Union, the Yale Women’s Center and Campus Action.


  • rr22

    It’s very misleading that this article is headlined as being about a ‘family planning’ rally. Whether or not to have a baby is only one of many issues related to ‘family planning’.

  • Hieronymus’ Bosh

    You beat me to it, rr22: “family planning,” when we are really talking about fetal termination (aka “killing,” “liquidation,” etc.) is a very 1984-esque euphemism.

    Yet another irony–sure to be shouted down–is that some percentage of these same women are going to be seeking fertility treatments later in life; others, once they have children, will go quietly but vehemently anti-abortion; others will be in therapy; others will center their lives and life’s work around *pro* abortion ideals (often driven by inner conflict and guilt).

    And, yes, some will continue on their normal, merry ways–not disputing that… Just trying to plant a seed of perspective. (Of course, as we know, some seeds fall on rocky places, others among thorns, and only a few on the good earth.)

    As a funding issue: it does seem strange that Big Brother can direct taxpayer money to a private company to facilitate eradication of an individual’s mistake (I say “mistake” because, if the baby were not a mistake, she would not be perceived as requiring liquidation).

    Full disclosure: I am not necessarily against keeping legal the right of a mother to kill her unborn children (please note: I do not say “murder”); I merely find the practice, from a macro standpoint, distasteful, racist, sexist, and morally degrading. But those issues are between the mother and her god/conscience/compass (and maybe Molech, but that is beside the point), and I don’t think citizens (or students, through fees) should be required, literally, to pay for her mistakes (or to make themselves complicit in the above-mentioned macro/molechian practices, if that offends their sensibilities/morals/beliefs).

    But, uh, rally on!

  • PurpleHaze

    The majority of services provided by Title X involve preventing unplanned/unwanted pregnancy in the first place. And they’re already barred from using federal funds to provide abortions.

    Defunding such groups will not reduce abortions. It will ultimately lead to more individuals facing the difficult decision of whether to have an abortion, and thus more abortions.

  • Andreology

    It’s one thing to ask for the freedom to buy contraceptives, undergo abortions, etc. It’s another thing to demand that every American taxpayer be forced to fund these activities.

  • PhysicsAlum

    “You beat me to it, rr22: “family planning,” when we are really talking about fetal termination (aka “killing,” “liquidation,” etc.) is a very 1984-esque euphemism.”

    These protests were regarding the elimination of Title X, a program in which the use of funds “in programs where abortion is a method of family planning” is specifically prohibited. [1] So I’m not sure where you’re getting the entire “Title X facilities abortion” stuff from. (Unless you want to say that it makes it *easier* for them to use other funds for abortion…in which case I direct you to Kristen Schaal’s recent theory that we stop funding the fire department because they might save abortion providers too).

    In fact, the program provides extensive healthcare to women for STD treatment and other sexual health problems – help which probably saves some women from becoming infertile. Believe it or not, lots of people, not just horrible atheist sluts, can get STDs and need treatment.

    In fact, it’s been estimated that public programs like Title X actually *decrease* the total number of abortions and “mistakes” in America drastically, by providing information and contraception to women who otherwise would not get it. [2] I’m vehemently pro-choice, but I would like to have children some day. For now, though, I’m extremely grateful that I have access to reliable birth control. My options otherwise would be A) An abortion, B) Putting my career as a scientist on hold indefinitely. Neither of these are good options for me.

    The best way to reduce abortions is, in short, programs like Title X.

    The elimination of which these people were protesting.

    [1] 42 USCS § 300a-6)
    [2] Forrest, Jacqueline & Renée Samara. (1996). “Impact of Publicly Funded Contraceptive Services on Unintended Pregnancies and Implications for Medicaid Expenditures.” Family Planning Perspectives, 28(4), 188–195.

  • River Tam

    > A rally on the New Haven Green Wednesday afternoon protested budget cuts to reproductive health programs with slogans like, “Keep your rosaries off my ovaries” and, “Hey, hey, mister, mister, get your laws off my sister!”

    Weird. I always thought that getting the government out of the business of “family planning” was *precisely* what keeping rosaries and laws off of sisters and ovaries.

  • PhysicsAlum

    Yes. Cuz believe it or not, using the services provided by Title X is a *choice*, not a requirement.

    Word is choice.

  • tc12

    Thank you, PurpleHaze and PhysicsAlum. Title X funding does not go to fund pregnancy terminations, but rather supports Planned Parenthood’s and other groups’ basic health services like cervical and breast cancer screenings, STI screenings, comprehensive sex ed, and, yes, birth control and other forms of contraception that, in the long run, reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies and the number of abortions sought and performed in the US. “Family planning” isn’t a euphemism for abortion, here, although I imagine most people at the rally were also in favor of abortion being and remaining a safe, legal, and rare option in the US. If anything, it’s too narrow a term for the wide range of diagnostic health services Title X funds and Planned Parenthood provides.

  • Andreology

    PhysicsAlum, Do you favor government funding for pregnancy centers that promote abstinence,
    encourage women not to abort, and provide prenatal care and assistance? No?

    Why not? Why should every American taxpayer be forced to support the services
    and values promoted by Planned Parenthood but not the services and values
    promoted by these crisis pregnancy centers?

    May I submit that ALL such organizations need to be defunded by the federal
    government and supported through private donations. When these kind of very
    private decisions and values are nationalized, it only creates bitterness.

  • FreddyHoneychurch

    I don’t support the military invading sovereign nations or police officers abusing American citizens. Please discontinue these programs. We should all fill out a massive survey fortnightly checking the boxes of the programs we’d like to fund with our tax dollars. Participation is not mandatory.

  • Andreology

    Exactly. It’s best if the government stays out of almost every activity, except those that cannot be done any other way.

  • FreddyHoneychurch

    Well, you’ve figured it out! Our era has witnessed *The End of Politics*: Government needs to be active in the correct proportion in all of those areas where it should be active but in none of those areas where it should not. Can’t debate that.

  • Andreology

    Yes. So defund Planned Parenthood and every other organization, artist, and cause. It’s inefficient and unfair to confiscate everybody’s money, funnel it through the Washington bureaucracy, and then redistribute it to the people deemed worthy at some particular time. It is in fact unAmerican for the government to favor any organization or person. Better for all of us to give to the causes we believe in.

  • PhysicsAlum

    Wait, whoa, who says I don’t support prenatal care and assistance? Those things are great, and it’d be frankly awesome if the government provided them. You know, along with better maternal (and paternal) leave for new parents. I’d be a lot less critical of the anti-choice crusade if they *were* running around trying to shore up support for new parents. But given the apparent attitude that the Right has towards heathcare and required-by-law parental leave once the baby is born…

    Let’s look at Planned Parenthood:

    Planned Parenthood provides prenatal care:

    Abstinence? It’s a section in their web site on birth control, and they’re quite positive about it (100% effective, and free!):

    The difference is that, like Planned Parenthood, I don’t think that abstinence should be the *only* element of birth control and sex education. That’s because abstinence-only methods simply have not proven to be effective, and I personally a government where policies are based on evidence, rather than morality.

    I think the government should provide funds for STD treatment, women’s reproductive health, and contraceptives to low-income women because, thanks to the current awful state of our healthcare system, these things *are* out of the reach of many women without government assistance. A single pack of BC pills can run $40 a month even with insurance. Make no mistake, women in America will suffer without help from Title X.

    Basically, I like it when my tax money is used pragmatically, rather than to satisfy one side’s sense of moral purity. (Insert comments about the wars here.)

    (Also, I like it when my tax money is used for science. Lots more science, plz. Speaking of which, bowing out and back to work.)

  • FreddyHoneychurch

    Silly truisms and blunt ideologies: the last refuge of the ununAmerican.

  • The Anti-Yale

    It would be more accurate to rename Planned Parenthood “Planned Infertility”.

    I don’t know anyone who goes to PP to choreograph when to HAVE children. They go there to choreograph HOW NOT TO HAVE CHILDREN at whatever stage of the process they might be in, from inactivated to activated.

  • dalet5770

    If as constituents we mandated that every public speaker demonstrate the use of a condom over a microphone I am confident we would could all agree on something