Supporters say Planned Parenthood is for everyone

Pink signs, chants, “pussy hats” and a Wednesday afternoon rally served as a reminder to Planned Parenthood supporters that their fight is not over.

About 60 people attended the Stand With Planned Parenthood rally in the Virginia Commonwealth University Student Commons Plaza. The rally came one day after the Senate narrowly passed HB 2264, a bill some see as an effort to defund Planned Parenthood.

“We are bracing ourselves for the attack we are sure to see over the next four years on women’s health care,” said Elizabeth Childress, Richmond City chair of the Young Democrats. “We must be committed to protecting women’s access to quality affordable health care in Virginia, and that’s care we know Planned Parenthood provides.”

Childress said Planned Parenthood helps people in poverty, people in rural areas, people of color and people in the LGBTQ community.

The one bright spot in the General Assembly’s approval of the legislation, Childress said, is that Gov. Terry McAuliffe has vowed to veto the bill as he did last year.

Next year, McAuliffe will no longer be the governor because Virginia prohibits the immediate re-election of governors.

“The House – the House that voted to defund Planned Parenthood, 60-33 – all 100 of their seats are up for grabs. All 100 of their seats are in your hands,” Childress said.

The bill does not directly reference Planned Parenthood and would not eliminate family planning services. The bill instead dedicates funding to health-care services provided by public entities, non-public hospitals and federally qualified health centers.

“The reality is that most of the money Planned Parenthood receives is from Medicaid, which this bill doesn’t address, and the amount of taxpayer dollars that would be affected by this bill is relatively small,” according to Chris Freund, vice president of the Family Foundation, which opposes Planned Parenthood because it provides abortions.

In a blog post, Freund wrote that the amount is “small enough that it would have no bearing on whether or not a facility would close.”

However, Paulette McElwain, CEO of the Virginia League for Planned Parenthood, said the legislation “would undermine the health of thousands of our patients who count on us for comprehensive care.” She added that “scores of Virginia women would no longer have access to STI (sexually transmitted infections) testing, a subsidized service utilized by nearly 2,000 of our patients last year.”

While many supporters of Planned Parenthood advocate for a woman’s right to choose whether to have an abortion, supporters also often argue that Planned Parenthood’s other health services should make the organization worth protecting even for those who are pro-life.

Hunter Madden, a member of Planned Parenthood Generation Action at VCU, said that as a high school student, the negative stigma around Planned Parenthood discouraged him from getting involved.

Madden grew up in Stafford, in Northern Virginia. He said that as a gay man, he found public school sex education lacking. The curriculum was very heteronormative, he said.

“The extent of our sex education was ‘don’t have sex.’ Great. OK. So we learned a little bit about how to not have sex and STDs and STIs,” Madden said.

When he wanted more comprehensive information about sex, he went to Planned Parenthood.

“Without a resource like Planned Parenthood, I don’t know where I would be. They’re just such an important group for so many people – women, LGBT people, men and everyone is affected by Planned Parenthood.”
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Reynolds CC dedicates student center


Reynolds Community College recently celebrated the dedication of the Jerry and Mary Owen Student Center, named for longtime supporters of the college who have made numerous investments in it.

Jerry Owen served on the Reynolds College Board from 1984 to 1988, and he and his wife support the college’s scholarship fund and created an endowment for the Reynolds Middle College, which helps students earn a high school equivalency and transition into a degree or workforce credential program. > Read more.

Capital One sponsors ‘Coders Experience’


Capital One hosted its “Coders Experience” event in Richmond and a number of other state locations Oct. 14. The events attracted hundreds of middle school girls, who learned how to create their own mobile apps, hone problem-solving skills and gain software development knowledge. A second day of Coders Experience events will take place Oct. 21. More than 500 Capital One volunteers are participating in the 10 events. > Read more.

Hermitage band member named All-American


The U.S. Army All-American Bowl Presented by American Family Insurance Selection Tour will visit Hermitage H.S. Oct. 19 to recognize Truman Chancy as a 2018 U.S. Army All-American. Hermitage High School will honor Chancy before his classmates, bandmates, family and friends at the high school’s band room during band practice, and he will be presented with his honorary All-American Marching Band jacket. > Read more.

Crime Stoppers’ Crime of the Week: Oct. 16, 2017


This week, Metro Richmond Crime Stoppers is asking for the public to assist the Richmond Police Department in the identification of wayward artists that were using buildings as their canvas.

In the early morning hours of Sept. 14, four people were recorded on security cameras vandalizing multiple properties in the area of the 2500 blocks of West Main Street and Floyd Avenue. The suspects (pictured) were walking north on Robinson Street and spray painting the properties as they meandered along. > Read more.

Slipping through


Hermitage quarterback Jay Carney escapes defenders during the Panthers' 33-0 win against Godwin Friday night. Hermitage is 8-0 and has won its past four games by a combined score of 172-28. > Read more.

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Regency Square will host Trick or Treat and Movie Night from 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Kids 12 and under are invited to trick or treat in a safe environment. The movie “Hotel Transylvania” will be shown at 5 p.m. with free popcorn. Admission is free. For details, visit http://www.facebook.com/ShopRegencySquare. Full text

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