Planned Parenthood supporters aim to “Pink the Night Out” at Monday rally

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Knoxville supporters of Planned Parenthood will be out in full force Monday night as a part of a “Pink the Night Out” rally protesting the potential defunding of Planned Parenthood by Congress.

The event, part of a national series of rallies beginning this Wednesday, will see supporters lighting pink lights before sunset, 7 p.m. in Krutch Park, ostensibly to ask Tennessee Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker not to cut funding to the organization by supporting the American Health Care Bill.

Republican Senate leaders released a draft repeal and replace bill to the Affordable Care Act Thursday, June 22, which included stipulations that no federal funds could go towards plans covering abortions. The AHCA, more popularly known as Trumpcare, narrowly passed in the House May 4. Both the Senate and House versions currently include provisions barring funding for Planned Parenthood for 1 year.

“Simply put, Trumpcare is the worst bill for women’s health in a generation, and it must be stopped, now,” said Max Carwile, East Tennessee organizer for Tennessee Advocates for Planned Parenthood, in a press release. “Trumpcare would block thousands of Tennesseans from accessing birth control, cancer screenings, and STI testing. Tennesseans are not going to stand for that.”

Located across the country and the state, Planned Parenthood specializes in preventative health care for low-income women, including including birth control, cancer screenings, STD testing and treatment, and abortions, the root of conservative ire over the past several years.

Should the bill pass in the Senate, the 14,000 women who annually rely on the organization could find themselves without care, according to Tennessee Advocates for Planned Parenthood. Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell plans to push a vote of the bill before the July 4 Congressional recess.   

Monday’s rally will include talks from three patients personally affected by Planned Parenthood, as well as community leaders and a former teen educator with personal ties to the organization.

Tanner Hancock is native Nashvillian and 2016 graduate of the University of Tennessee, a little-known school located in Knoxville, Tenn. He spent several years working at the university's student newspaper The Daily Beacon in differing capacities. When not pushing deadline, Tanner enjoys watching obscure samurai flicks or playing Go.

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