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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Henrico promotional company changes name


Henrico-based brand merchandising company NewClients, Inc. has changed its name to Boost Promotional Branding.

The company is one of the nation's largest in the branded merchandise industry. Founded in 1981, its serves more than 5,000 clients – including many Fortune 500 companies – nationwide. > Read more.

Lidl competition offers shoppers chance to win NYC trip


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Glen Allen advances in 14U Babe Ruth World Series


The Glen Allen Babe Ruth Baseball League 14-year-old all-star team advanced to the single-elimination round of the 14-year-old World Series, which the Glen Allen Youth Athletic Association is hosting at RF&P Stadium in Glen Allen. > Read more.

Earnhardt gives Redskins a ride


Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the Hendrick Motorsports No. 88, stopped at Richmond Raceway Aug. 8 in advance of the track’s NASCAR weekend in September. He was joined by five players from the Washington Redskins, who were in town for the team's training camp, which concluded Aug. 14. The day in Richmond gave Earnhardt and the Redskins players an opportunity to see how the athletes compete in their respective sports. > Read more.

READ Center a finalist for $25k grant


The READ Center is a top-200 cause finalist in State Farm’s Neighborhood Assist program, making it eligible to earn a $25,000 grant to support adult literacy in the Richmond region. The 40 organizations from across the nation with the most votes will win grants.

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The Richmond Chapter of USA Dance, a national ballroom dance organization, will provide a free ballroom dance exhibition at 1:30 p.m. at Regency Square Mall. The exhibition will be comprised of professional and social ballroom dancers performing ballroom dances from the waltz to the samba. The audience will have an opportunity to participate. Full text

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