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Posted on Sat, Mar 26, 2011 : 4:05 p.m.

Planned Parenthood supporters rally in Ann Arbor to keep organization's federal funding

By Lisa Carolin


Hundreds of Planned Parenthood supporters rally on the University of Michigan Diag Saturday.

Sam Wolson | For

Wearing pink shirts and waving pink signs, hundreds of Planned Parenthood supporters rallied on the University of Michigan Diag today to show their support for continued federal funding for the family-planning organization.

Planned Parenthood has been traveling around the country with its "big pink bus" to generate support for its effort to keep its federal funding, which the Republican-dominated U.S. House has voted to end.

“When you explain the possible drastic cuts to people, they’re shocked,” said University of Michigan senior Jasmine Mancos.

She was part of the group Students for Choice collecting signatures for a petition to take to Lansing to show support for Planned Parenthood.

“Most students are pro-choice, but they take what Planned Parenthood has to offer for granted,” said U-M senior Mimi Singh, also a member of Students for Choice.

But some in the crowd said what Planned Parenthood does is not worthy of support. Several dozen people showed up to demonstrate against Planned Parenthood and the abortions it provides.

Monica Miller, who teaches at Madonna University in Livonia, said she needed only one reason to show up.

“Planned Parenthood is the largest provider of abortions in this country and that means taking lives,” she said.

Judy Paga, from Lapeer County, shared Miller’s sentiment.

“Planned Parenthood is not about birth control. It’s about abortion,” she said, while wielding a sign with a graphic rendering of a fetus.

During their bus tour, representatives from Planned Parenthood have been emphasizing services the organization provides, including preventive health care, HIV testing and counseling, breast and cervical cancer screenings, pregnancy testing, family planning and birth control.

Lori Lamerand, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Mid and South Michigan, told the crowd, “I’ve spent more than 25 years with Planned Parenthood. and this is the biggest attack we’ve seen in that time.” She was referring to the U.S. House of Representatives vote to cut all federal funding to Planned Parenthood and defund Title X, the U.S. government program designed to provide Americans with access to family planning services. “What does that have to do with jump starting our economy or getting people back to work?”

Debbie Dingell, an active member of Michigan’s Democratic Party and wife of U.S. Rep. John Dingell, D-Dearborn, who represents Ann Arbor, fired up the audience. “I never thought I’d have to be at a rally like this at my age and fight for what we already fought for," she said. "This is about the most basic issues of quality care for women. Do not become quiet and complacent and take it for granted. Make sure we keep progress happening and don’t go backward.”

Following the rally, close to 200 people, most of them Planned Parenthood supporters, as well as a few anti-abortion activists, marched through downtown Ann Arbor to the big pink bus parked on Washington Street. The Planned Parenthood bus will head to the southern U.S. then to Washington, D.C., for a rally on April 7.

Jennifer Kundak and her husband, Jeff Cowall, came from the Chelsea area to show their support for Planned Parenthood.

“I used to work for Planned Parenthood in Detroit,” said Kundak. “Planned Parenthood educates women and makes them aware of choices.”

“The dream of equality is why I’m here,” said Cowall. “A woman has a right to control her body the same as me, independent of ideologies and religion.”

Lisa Carolin is a freelance reporter for To reach the news desk, email or call 734-623-2530.


Tony Dearing

Sun, Mar 27, 2011 : 12:33 p.m.

Commenting on this story has been closed because of the high number of inappropriate comments.

David Briegel

Sun, Mar 27, 2011 : 12:19 p.m.

If you desire fewer abortions, you must support Planned Parenthood. It is foolish to think otherwise! If you don't want to have an abortion, don't have one! Obviously your abstinence programs are complete failures. That always works. Except when it doesn't! If you wish to have fewer dead babies, improve womens access to health care like Planned Parenthood does. 34th in the world in infant mortality is hardly the best health care system in the world!!


Sun, Mar 27, 2011 : 3:15 a.m.

Forty comments, with sixteen removed. Must be some kind of record. Just goes to show how divisive this topic is. These incredibly trying times are bringing to the fore the principles behind funding issues that have long remained dormant.


Sun, Mar 27, 2011 : 2:12 a.m.

" "This is about the most basic issues of quality care for women. " You call destroying human life quality care Debbie ? Planned Parenthood says that only 3% of their business is abortion, what they don't tell you is abortion makes up 34% of their revenues. Good Day


Sun, Mar 27, 2011 : 2:42 a.m.

Uh, Planned Parenthood itself Leaf. Good Day


Sun, Mar 27, 2011 : 2:14 a.m.

And your source please?


Sun, Mar 27, 2011 : 1:52 a.m.

In the picture, one of the signs says, "don't take away my breast exams." What in the world does breast exams have to do with planned parenthood? STOP SPENDING OUR MONEY!!!


Sun, Mar 27, 2011 : 4:29 a.m.

Breast exams, cervical cancer screening and STI diagnosis and treatment are all most of what clinicians do at Planned Parenthood, all day, every day, for women with no other resources. Preventative health care and prenatal care are the bulk of services provided.


Sun, Mar 27, 2011 : 2:04 a.m.

Are you serious? Mr. Joe it is time you educate yourself about this great organization.

Dan Stevens

Sun, Mar 27, 2011 : 1:13 a.m.

Our Government is BROKE (both state and federal) At what point did it become the Governments responsibility to provide funding for Planned Parenthood? Regardless of your views on Abortion it is NOT the Governments job. Cuts have to be made people. Read the Constitution and let that be your guide to the involvement of our elected officials in our lives.

David Briegel

Sun, Mar 27, 2011 : 12:28 p.m.

Bring our military home and you/we could balance our budget and fund any programs we desire! Let the Fortune 500 hire Blackwater. I don't desire to fund The Perpetual War Profiteers any longer!


Sun, Mar 27, 2011 : 1:08 a.m.

Cut their funding, cut NPR and every other program... We can't afford any of this. Also stop funding full pension retirement for 47 year old retired police officers... They should have to work as long as the rest of us... The govt is out of control and someone needs to rein in the insanity..


Sun, Mar 27, 2011 : 5:03 a.m.

As long as you feel that way, lets stop the socialism practiced by the military, They can retire after 30 years (48 years old with FULL tax payer paid pension) Also their tax payer funded health care (with a single payer system as well). Why should somebody who is a federal employee (which a member of he military is) get socialized medicine? Let them pay for their own health care. If they were really "heros" they wouldn't require pay to do it.


Sun, Mar 27, 2011 : 1:05 a.m.

As a US taxpayer, I am ungrateful for such a waste of money.


Sun, Mar 27, 2011 : 12:59 a.m.

I am pro-choice. I understand the interaction of State Law, Federal Law, the doctrice of pre-emption and the right of privacy that has been wrung out of the Constitution. But, Planned Parenthood is just another special interest that wants my tax money. the best planners of parenthood are in fact parents.


Sun, Mar 27, 2011 : 4:07 a.m.

@Joe Hood: I'm well aware of adoption and think the world of wonderful adoptive parents. But are you aware that some kids are never adopted and age out of foster care?

Joe Hood

Sun, Mar 27, 2011 : 3:03 a.m.

@Peregrine: Every child is wanted. Do a search on folks looking for kids because they can't have their own.


Sun, Mar 27, 2011 : 1:58 a.m.

Then why are so many pregnancies unplanned and unwanted? We all benefit when every pregnancy results in a wanted child by parents who are ready to assume the responsibility.


Sun, Mar 27, 2011 : 12:26 a.m.

Why am I paying for abortion? We're in debt and KILLING unborn children should be illegal. Planned parenthood is evil.


Sun, Mar 27, 2011 : 4:59 a.m.

One- you aent paying for abortions two- you SHOULD be three- why am I paying for troops invading Iraq and Comerica park (which I never have, nor ever will use).


Sun, Mar 27, 2011 : 4:27 a.m.

You're not paying for abortion. You may have missed the Hyde Amendment, but since it's been renewed every two years since 1976, that's a pretty big oversight.


Sun, Mar 27, 2011 : 12:14 a.m.

If it weren't for the services of agencies such as Planned Parenthood, many of the low income kids I work with would have little or no access to reproductive information and education. Those that want to defund these programs are, in truth, finding another manner in which to disenfranchise the poor. By denying health care to those that can't afford it, you further beat them down... We're moving back into the 1800's, voices need to be heard now.


Sat, Mar 26, 2011 : 11:49 p.m.

Planned Parenthood is an amazing organization! It is a shame that they are so hated by a public who listen to uneducated politicians who are trying to misrepresent and skew the facts.


Sat, Mar 26, 2011 : 11:11 p.m.

"Since it wasn't mentioned in the article, I just want to make sure the exact figure is known: only 3% of the services Planned Parenthood provides has anything to do with abortion. The other 97% is pap smears, breast exams, emergency contraception, STD exams for women AND men, vasectomies, prenatal services, sex education, etc etc etc." Maybe a good compromise would be to fund the 97% and don't fund the 3%. If the government paid for a program for seniors, lets say over 85. And out of every 100 the families choice was to end the life of 3 of the seniors. What would the reaction be? Just Saying!


Sun, Mar 27, 2011 : 1:50 a.m.

lynel I have no problem with a most of what planned parenthood does. But I do have a problem with abortion. I am not well versed in all they do so I will not get on my high horse and blast them blindly.


Sat, Mar 26, 2011 : 11:56 p.m.

You do know that abortions are not federally funded and have not been since the Hyde Amendment was passed by Congress in 1976, correct? Just to repeat: abortions are NOT federally funded. Neither yours nor my tax money goes towards abortions.


Sat, Mar 26, 2011 : 11:47 p.m.

Maybe a good compromise would be to fund the 97% and don't fund the 3%. At first I thought you were making sense, but then you lost me.

Moscow On The Huron

Sat, Mar 26, 2011 : 10:49 p.m.

"A woman has a right to control her body " And the people have a responsibility to speak for the babies who can't speak for themselves, and protect them from death. Stopping abortions is an honorable, and unfortunately a necessary, mission.

Linda Diane Feldt

Sat, Mar 26, 2011 : 10:45 p.m.

It is actually pretty simple if you think about it. What prevents abortions? Education and access to contraceptive services. Who is the largest provider of education and access to contraceptive services in the US? I don't know of any organization that comes close to Planned Parenthood. Pure logic would dictate that we would all want Planned Parenthood to succeed in that mission, and be well funded to provide services that will decrease the number of abortions. Not getting pregnant in the first place is an excellent way to avoid ever having to consider abortion. I teach a comprehensive sex ed course for high school students at a local school. Planned Parenthood does a fabulous job of supporting me in providing accurate, clear information for teens. These are essential services, and they do them well. Planned Parenthood also provides essential prenatal care for low income pregnant women. Now why would anyone want to curtail those services? Decreased access to good prenatal care harms moms and those unborn. I am profoundly grateful for the services our local Planned Parenthood provides.

Joe Hood

Sun, Mar 27, 2011 : 3:06 a.m.

Saw a sign at Meier today, they provide free prenatal vitamins (to add to your teaching knowledge). Sorry but I'm pretty skeptical of Planned Parenthood.


Sat, Mar 26, 2011 : 10:10 p.m.

Since it wasn't mentioned in the article, I just want to make sure the exact figure is known: only 3% of the services Planned Parenthood provides has anything to do with abortion. The other 97% is pap smears, breast exams, emergency contraception, STD exams for women AND men, vasectomies, prenatal services, sex education, etc etc etc. There are many Planned Parenthood locations that do not even offer or perform abortions. Without them, there would be so many women (and men!), a majority of them low income, who would have no place to go for even the most basic of sexual health services.

Ben Connor Barrie

Sat, Mar 26, 2011 : 9:55 p.m.

So little of what Planned Parenthood does is provide abortions. Sure, that gets the most attention, but much of what Planned Parenthood does is provide affordable reproductive healthcare for low income people. Attacks against the organization are, in the end, attacks against access to healthcare. It was good to see so many students and families out today supporting Planned Parenthood and the essential services they provide.


Sat, Mar 26, 2011 : 9:51 p.m.

Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist crowd would have been proud of the anti-choice counter-demonstrators. There are counter-demonstrators at many rallies, regardless of the issue. But there's usually an attempt to keep a respectful distance. Many in the anti-choice crowd tried to disrupt the rally, some in volatile ways that could have provoked violent confrontations.


Sun, Mar 27, 2011 : 2:14 a.m.

I believe the baby being killed is given the "ant-choice". Interesting to see you proud of that.


Sat, Mar 26, 2011 : 9:50 p.m.

How is it that we are still having to fight for the progress we made so many years ago??? The people protesting Planned Parenthood need to join the rest of us in the twenty-first century. They are still fighting a fight they lost over 40 years ago in the 70s. Society and the courts and the majority of Americans have spoken: abortion is now legal and is a basic part of women's healthcare. Your giant Photoshopped signs to gross people out, your muttering of prayers, and odd shouting of platitudes notwithstanding, society is not going to roll back the clock nearly five decades to appease your archaic religious views. And let's all remember this: Planned Parenthood isn't all about abortions. It's about women's health. They provide invaluable services to women of all ages in the communities where they have a presence. Bless them and their supporters.


Sun, Mar 27, 2011 : 3:52 a.m.

Many years ago, you fought, and won, the right to abortion. Fine. You did not win the right to have taxpayers pay for them.

Joe Hood

Sun, Mar 27, 2011 : 3:01 a.m.

Um, perhaps the courts spoke because the precedent was an end run about society and the majority of Americans.


Sun, Mar 27, 2011 : 2:15 a.m.

It's "progress" to have an unborn baby with eyes and a beating heart killed!

Moscow On The Huron

Sat, Mar 26, 2011 : 11:17 p.m.

I really don't see how abortion can be considered "progress." It's destructive and ends a life. That's not what I consider progress.