The debate over Planned Parenthood was brought to the forefront in Washington, yesterday, when Planned Parenthood officials testified in front of Congress. Currently, there is no Planned Parenthood located in Las Cruces, but that hasn’t stopped the debates from happening locally.
Students and community members rallied at NMSU as part of a National Pink Out Day in support of Planned Parenthood. Secretary of the Student Alliance for Reproductive Justice Kathryn Von Dasing says performing abortions is only a small part of what Planned Parenthood does, and de-funding the organization could leave millions without health care.
“Planned Parenthood, what they do, is way more than abortions,” Dasing said. “About 3% of what they do is abortions. And what people don’t understand is if they shut down places like Planned Parenthood that do more than just abortions, which I wish people knew, is they do more if they looked at the whole circle. They are taking away health care for tons of people.”
In front of Whole Women’s Health Care in Las Cruces, cars beeped in support of the anti-abortion advocated gathered. Campaign Coordinator of the 40 Days for Life Campaign in Las Cruces Mark Cavaliere says services provided by Planned Parenthood, which has begun organizing in Las Cruces, can be found at places that don’t provide abortion procedures.
“In our community of Las Cruces,” Cavaliere said. “Every single service that Planned Parenthood provides other than abortion has already been offered here for decades by dedicated OBGYN’s and health centers. And there is absolutely nothing that Planned Parenthood has to offer to our community except scandal and ill repute.”
This most recent debate comes after videos were released appearing to show Planned Parenthood Officials discussing unlawfully profiting from donations of fetal tissue for research.
President of Planned Parenthood Cecile Richards testified before congress saying t the videos were heavily edited and misleading.
“It’s a shame to think there are people in this country who are so committed to ending women’s access to both birth control and safe and legal abortion,” Richards said. “That they will resort to any means, try to entrap people to try and twist the truth in order to reach their end.”
There is now a possibility of a government shutdown from those hoping to defund Planned Parenthood.
Martha Beasley with Sidewalk Advocates for Life in Las Cruces says she would support a shutdown.
“Well defunding planned parenthood by shutting down the government,” Beasley said. “Although we don’t want people to lose services, and I myself, have relatives that are employed by the federal government. There are consequences that come with funding Planned Parenthood and so if we have to defund them by shutting down the government I think that’s an option that we all truly need to consider.”
Southern New Mexico Field Coordinator with Equality New Mexico Myra Llerenas says defunding Planned Parenthood would be irresponsible because of the necessary health care services it provides.
“These attacks on Planned Parenthood are attacks on the broader health care of all individuals,” Llerenas said. “LGBT individuals, women, men, so many people access health care through Planned Parenthood, especially low income, many who don’t have access to Planned Parenthood, so when you attack Planned Parenthood you also attack access to the broader health care system, and access to health care that everyone deserves and needs.”