Students all over campus were sporting passionate pink on Tuesday. The event to show support for Planned Parenthood (PP) was orchestrated by the Womyn’s Awareness Center (WAC).
WAC co-presidents, senior Leah Soule, and sophomore Jessica Green, organized the Pink-Out as part of a larger, national event.
“The point of the Pink-Out is to show our support for PP. Our goal is to share the information about Minnesota Planned Parenthood and to show solidarity,” Green said.
“The Pink-Out is a national day of action to fight the attacks on Planned Parenthood,” Soule said.
The event was sparked after Planned Parenthood appeared in many controversial headlines over the last few months. The Center for Medical Progress released undercover videos alleging the organization participating in the selling of fetal tissue. Pro-Choice individuals were outraged.
Congress voted on a bill to cut government funds to Planned Parenthood. The bill passed in the House but failed in the Senate.
Many supporters of Planned Parenthood claimed the videos were edited and fake.
“The Center for Medical Progress manufactured videos that they edited, focusing primarily on fetal tissue donation,” Soule said, who added that Minnesota and the Dakotas do not participate in fetal tissue donation in their chapter of Planned Parenthood.
“The FBI went through videos and the full tapes and showed the ways the videos were edited. They’re false and deceptive,” Soule said.
An article by the New York Times in late August confirmed that the videos were “altered.”
“The sting videos were filmed and edited to convey that Planned Parenthood sells fetal tissue for profit, which is simply not true,” Green said.
According to New York Magazine, seven states have completed investigations into Planned Parenthood, all finding no evidence that the organization sells fetal tissue.
“I think it’s ridiculous how legislators can look at it and defund Planned Parenthood,” Soule said. “When you look at the numbers and how many people Planned Parenthood serves, no one else could do it as effectively. When we fight over funding we are basically saying poor women don’t have the right to control their body.”
Many supporters of Planned Parenthood saw the sting as a right-wing attack on women’s rights. Abortion has already become a hot-button issue for politicians, especially with the looming presidential nomination campaign.
The Planned Parenthood website notes that, in accordance with the Hyde Amendment, federal funding cannot be used to fund an abortion “except in the extremely narrow and dire circumstances when continuing the pregnancy will endanger the life of the woman, or when the pregnancy results from rape or incest.”
“Abortion is legal. People choose to ignore that. It’s a legal healthcare service,” Green said.
Some supporters of Planned Parenthood also point out the many other services it provides. The WAC table included signs with statistics reading “328,676 men’s health visits,”“549,804 breast exams,” and “4,425,791 STD tests.”
“Planned Parenthood prevents way more abortions than it provides, through sexual education and contraception,” Soule said.
Pink-Out Day also had a large social media focus. #PinkOut and #StandWithPP were both trending tags on twitter, and Gustavus participants were encouraged to post photographs of their pink attire with #GACStandsWithPP.
“Hopefully it sparks a conversation,” Soule said.
The Womyn’s Awareness Center is both a student organization and a physical space, located near the Dive. WAC meetings are hosted every Thursday at 5:30 p.m.
“We focus a lot on gender equality and intersectional feminism,” Green said. “Everyone’s welcome. We learn together.”
The group is hoping to grow and expand their presence on campus.
“We are trying to renovate the space and make it more useful,” Soule said.
The Pink-Out day was just one of many issues and movements the WAC hopes to participate in.