BOSTON (CBS) — Braving frigid cold temperatures, hundreds of abortion rights supporters held a rally Saturday on Boston Common to protest federal funding cuts to Planned Parenthood.
“Defunding Planned Parenthood would cause a public health disaster,” Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts President and CEO Dr. Jennifer Childs-Roshak said.
She told WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens that, if there is a cut in funding, the people who would suffer would be the people who are the most vulnerable.
“We serve a wide range of patients, but a lot of times, we are the only health provider who can care for folks who are disenfranchised,” Dr. Childs-Roshak said.
Planned Parenthood says clinics in Massachusetts could lose about $2 million in Medicaid reimbursements if the plan is adopted.
“It’s cold out here, and you might even be uncomfortable,” City Councilor Ayanna Pressley told the crowd. “But I want you to stay uncomfortable, because only if you stay uncomfortable, will you, can we, remain vigilant!”
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh says they are sending a message to Washington, D.C. that the Trump administration simply can’t ignore.
“Defunding planned parenthood is simply reckless,” Walsh said. “More than 30,000 women and men in Massachusetts would be cut off from healthcare access, cancer screening, STD treatment and so much more,” Walsh said.
Several congresspeople spoke at the rally, offering their support and vowing to take the fight to Washington.
“There’s no backing down, there’s no stepping back, there’s no giving up,” said Rep. Mike Capuano. “There’s only going forward from here today with you, with America. Thank you for being here, I’ll be with you every day.”
Congressman Joe Kennedy III said the crowds were there to say “not on our watch.”
“We are here to resist, to persist, and to make sure that no matter what obstacles come ahead, we together will succeed,” he said.
Supporters of President Donald Trump strongly disagree. They rallied nearby in front of the State House Saturday.
“It should be defunded and tax people should not be paying for that,” Trump supporter Don Bryant said. “Birth control yes … It’s totally available apart from planned parenthood.”
Governor Charlie Baker’s administration says it’s prepared to increase state funds for Planned Parenthood clinics if Congress blocks Medicaid funding for the organization.
“I don’t think Trump has officially said he will take away funding, but Governor Charlie Baker stepped up and said he would fund it across the state,” Trump supporter John Fetherston said.
The bill has not been finalized.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens reports