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Protesters assemble outside Planned Parenthood as donations to organization increase

Two protesters stand outside of the Planned Parenthood Greater Boston Health Center on Commonwealth Avenue. PHOTO BY KANKANIT WIRIYASAJJA/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF
Two protesters stand outside of the Planned Parenthood Greater Boston Health Center on Commonwealth Avenue. PHOTO BY KANKANIT WIRIYASAJJA/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

Donald Trump’s Election Day victory has left people across the nation questioning the fate of organizations Trump and his Vice President-elect Mike Pence have expressed opposition against during their campaign. However, Planned Parenthood and other pro-choice organizations in Massachusetts report increased donations since Nov. 8, despite the uncertainty about the president-elect’s policies.

Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement the day after the election that Planned Parenthood will continue to help patients access adequate care.

“Health care should not be political,” Richards said. “Every morning, Planned Parenthood health center staff across the country wake up and open their doors, as they have this morning, to care for anyone who needs them, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, income, or country of origin.”

In front of the Planned Parenthood on Commonwealth Avenue, a group of pro-life advocates are often seen rallying. Several of them said Trump’s election victory would bring more light to their cause.

For Eleanor McCullen, 79, a pro-life advocate and founder of the organization Hope, Help and Love, Trump’s presidency signals a big step for the pro-life movement.

“[Trump] is going to speak for the unborn child and appoint some Supreme Court justices that are also for life,” McCullen said. “I’m thrilled that he is a pro-life advocate.”

As for Planned Parenthood, McCullen said the organization has every right to stay open, as long as they raise their own money.

“I’m hoping that [Trump] will stop government funding of Planned Parenthood services,” she said. “People are donating a lot of money to them now, which is great. That’s how they should raise their money.”

Jennifer Childs-Roshak, the president of Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, said the organization has received an unprecedented number of donations since the election.

“We’ve really seen an outpouring of love and support from donors and patients and people in general who, like us, want to make sure people have access to our services.” Childs-Roshak said. “More than 200 people have submitted volunteer applications since the election at our Boston center.”

Mollie Katz, the spokesperson for the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, said the group respects women’s reproductive choices and supports measures such as improving sex education, increasing access to contraception and preventing sexually transmitted diseases.

“If women want to find out about and have abortion care, we also support their right to make that decision according to their own consciences and with the support of faith leaders, family members or others that they may choose to bring into their decision making process,” Katz said. “We believe that women and girls have the ability and the right to make their decisions for themselves without any government intervention.”

Several Boston residents expressed varying opinions on the future of Planned Parenthood under the Trump administration.

Sandra Mullen, 56, of Roslindale, said she doubts Trump’s ability to keep his promise of defunding Planned Parenthood.

“[Trump] has already changed his mind on so many issues,” she said. “He’s realizing he can’t do everything he said he was going to do, and that is going to disappoint his supporters.”

Angela Hoang, 27, of Brighton, said many people are scared about the future of Planned Parenthood.

“A lot of people have been donating to Planned Parenthood recently as a result, which goes to show that people are definitely scared of what Trump could do, and if he could possibly take [Planned Parenthood] away,” she said.

David Palomares, 31, of Roxbury, said he is worried about the safety of women seeking treatment at Planned Parenthood facilities.

“People already get yelled at when they try to walk into [Planned Parenthood] with the protesters,” he said. “I’m sure even more now that the president is saying he is against abortion. I just hope no one gets hurt.”

Dave Sebastian contributed to the reporting of this article.

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