Planned Parenthood’s “Women are Watching” bus tour stopped at Virginia Highlands Park near Pentagon City on Sunday morning. With a bright pink bus as a backdrop, Kaine told the crowd that he was committed to pro-choice policies and against efforts to place restrictions on birth control.
“Often, these issues are pushed by the other side as wedge issues. They want to use wedge issues that divide us,” Kaine said. “Women’s lives are not political issues, women’s lives are not wedge issues. Women have the ability to make their own health care decisions and their own moral decisions.”
Kaine was joined at the rally by several local Democratic elected officials, including County Board member Walter Tejada, state Senator Janet Howell, Del. Charniele Herring, and Arlington Commissioner of Revenue Ingrid Morroy.
Howell and Herring spoke of some of the bills pushed by Republicans during the latest legislative session in Richmond, including a bill that originally would have required women seeking an abortion to receive a transvaginal ultrasound. (The bill was amended to only require an external ultrasound after it made national headlines.) Also discussed was the more recent controversy over remarks by Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.). Akin falsely suggested that the female body “has ways to shut… down” and prevent a pregnancy during a “legitimate rape.”
Charniele told the crowd of more than 100 Planned Parenthood supporters that politicians should be required to have a basic understanding of biology before they try to legislate on it.
While politics dominated the rally, not everything discussed was of a political nature.
One of the speakers was a young female immigrant who was diagnosed with breast cancer during a Planned Parenthood screening. She spoke of how, though she lacked health insurance, the organization provided the support and financial assistance she needed to get a mastectomy and emerge from treatment cancer-free.
Kaine will face Republican George Allen on the Nov. 6 ballot in Virginia.
Photos courtesy Kaine for Virginia and Cliffords Photography, as labeled
On Tuesday, the Susan G. Komen Foundation For The Cure cut its funding for Planned Parenthood. The money had supplied breast exams for 170,000 women over the past five years.
The founder of the foundation cited changes in priorities and policies, and says the money will be put elsewhere to benefit a larger number of women. However, some say the decision was political, and the foundation was pressured by right-leaning organizations who disapprove of Planned Parenthood’s abortion services.
Just today, The Atlantic reported that a top official at Komen resigned in protest over the dust up.
Congressman Jim Moran (D-Va.) released the following statement following Komen’s decision to pull funding for Planned Parenthood:
The Komen Foundation’s decision regarding Planned Parenthood is deeply troubling. As an organization dedicated to eradicating breast cancer, it’s hard to understand how eliminating funding that provides hundreds of thousands of women with preventive screenings is in anyone’s best interest.
I call on the Foundation to reverse their decision and not let politics interfere with protecting women’s health.