MEDIA–Community members and Planned Parenthood representatives gathered outside of Congressman Patrick Meehan’s (R-7th District) Springfield Township headquarters on Thursday to express their outrage over his vote to eliminate federal funding for the organization.
About 15 people wearing pink, "I Stand with Planned Parenthood" t-shirts stood on Sproul Road Thursday afternoon holding signs saying, "Don’t take away my cancer screenings" and "Don’t take away my breast exams."
The group, mostly comprised of women, stood on the roadway outside of Meehan’s headquarters for about an hour and received numerous signals of approval from passing motorists who honked in support of their cause.
The group also submitted a petition, signed by more than 2,000 supporters, to Meehan’s office. However, Meehan was in Washington D.C. Thursday since the House was in session, according to his press secretary.
Recently, the for Planned Parenthood that is used for preventative family planning.
Meehan voted to eliminate the federal funding.
In a recent interview with Patch, Maggie Groff, vice president of external affairs for the Southeastern Pennsylvania division of Planned Parenthood, said it’s clear the organization is being targeted because it provides abortion services. However, no federal money is spent on abortion services.
The federal dollars are spent on contraceptives, cervical and breast cancer screenings and other women’s health services. Abortion services are paid for with private dollars, Groff said.
Locally, about $1.5 million could be cut from the federal family planning program and the estimated 3,500 patients seen at Planned Parenthood in Media last year may have to find some place else to go if the elimination of federal funding is passed in the Senate.
On Thursday, several male drivers, driving pick up trucks, trash trucks and tractor-trailers, were heard honking in support of the cause along with the average motorist.
Ariel Swyer, a freshman at Swarthmore College, said she came out to protest because cutting Planned Parenthood funding would be "extremely dangerous."
"I think it’s a terrible idea and I can’t believe it’s even being considered," Swyer said.
Audrey Ross, government and media relations coordinator for Planned Parenthood Southeastern PA, said the goal of the protest was to raise awareness about the possible elimination of federal funding and express disappointment against Meehan’s vote.
"We want them to vote in support of women’s health," Ross said.
Meehan explained his vote in support of the cuts in a statement.
"I am fully supportive of providing access to necessary health services for women and families, including cancer screenings and STD testing, as well as educational programs and prevention efforts," Meehan said in a statement.
He continues, "Planned Parenthood is just one of the many providers that offer these services. Unfortunately, Planned Parenthood is also the largest provider of abortion in the United States. I voted in favor of the Pence amendment because it reflects the deep concern of many citizens in the 7th district that taxpayer money not be used to support an organization that promotes abortions."