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Pro Choice protest
via Instagram (@Magnoliafund)

People donate to Planned Parenthood using Mike Pence’s name

Donations to the non-profit, which provides affordable services from abortion access to cancer screenings, are flooding in ‘In Honour Of’ the pro-life incoming vice-president

Mike Pence, the incoming vice-president, has been leading the charge against women’s rights to choose and govern their own body. As Governor of Indiana, he signed a law that limited abortion access. To protest, women called his office to give detailed updates on their periods. Now, people are donating to Planned Parenthood in Pence’s name – his mailbox is probably full of certificates thanking him for his kind contribution to the much-needed organisation he has crusaded relentlessly against.

Pro-choice Americans have been making charitable donations “In Honour Of” Pence, with certificates being sent to his office in Indianapolis. Concern has been rightfully raised now that Pence will take up the position of the second most powerful man in the United States, given his ultra conservative views on abortion, his support for ‘gay conversion therapy’ and plans to defund LGBT charities and projects that support people with HIV/AIDs.

Reproductive rights and women’s bodily autonomy have always been under siege by the political system, but it’s the government’s attack on Planned Parenthood that really made its lack of care for half the population as stark as it is now. Following a series of false attack videos from anti-abortionists, 2015 saw the senate vote to defund the non-profit, which provides affordable healthcare including abortion access, cancer screenings and sexual health checks, as well as repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).

3 per cent of Planned Parenthood’s services provided are abortion services. They outreach to nearly five million women, men, and adolescents worldwide annually, with 2.5 million women and men in the U.S annually visiting for services and information. 270,000 pap tests and more than 360,000 breast exams are provided every year, as well as more than 4.2 million tests and treatments for sexually transmitted infections, including more than 650,000 HIV tests.

In his first broadcast interview since the election, president-elect Donald Trump told CBS’s 60 Minutes that he was staunchly “pro-life”, and the justice he would put forward for the Supreme Court would also be anti-abortion. 

“If it gets overturned, it will go back to the states,” he said when discussing Roe V. Wade, which gave women in the U.S the right to choose. Trump said that women would “perhaps have to go – they’ll have to go to another state” to get a termination.

Planned Parenthood responded that it would campaign against his proposal, tweeting: “Not on our watch”.

Katy Perry has shown consistent solidarity with the healthcare provider, recently donating $10,000. Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino and Amber Rose have also shown their support. 

In March, Trump said women should possibly face “some form of punishment” for having abortions, but backtracked to say that states should be able to take control of policy surrounding reproductive rights. 

When pressed on the matter of abortion, he said: “Well, we’ll see what happens. It’s got a long way to go.”

Thankfully, Obama just passed a bill to protect women’s rights to contraceptives and abortion access, which will permanently block U.S states from defunding the healthcare provide for any “political reasons”. Funding can only be taken away if the provider’s “ability to deliver services to program beneficiaries” is not completed “in an effective manner”.

Pence’s cabinet position is a major cause for concern, as is the announcement of Steve Bannon, the right-wing news site Breitbart’s executive chairman who has links to white supremacist groups, as Trump’s chief strategist, equally horrifying. Lena Dunham posted to Instagram to highlight a voicemail she left for Speaker Paul Ryan, where she complained about Bannon’s appointment.

“I’m not sure you’re really going to listen to this,” Dunham says. “But I hope you do, because I want to let you know that as a woman, as a Jew, as a person who cares about other human beings, people of colour, the idea of pointing an anti-Semitic white supremacist...” The video then cuts off.