Planned Parenthood protest comes to Buffalo

By Amanda Weber and Felicia Smolen

Assistant News Editor and Griffin Reporter

In 1973, a decision was made, and a controversial and bitter battle began when the United States Supreme Court ruled in a case, known as Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion across the nation. However, regulations for abortion were to be decided by each state. Since this decision almost 45 years ago, pro-choice and pro-life activists have been in a contentious battle. This debate has resulted in many protests or rallies, including the Women’s March and the March for Life.

Most recently, a local Buffalo rally, called #ProtestPP, that addressed this issue occurred on February 11, 2017. The purpose of this protest in particular was to support the idea of defunding Planned Parenthood. Approximately 90 protesters gathered at a Planned Parenthood facility in Buffalo, N.Y., located at 2697 Main Street, at 11:00 a.m. The Griffin was able to sit down with the spokesperson for the Buffalo rally, Aeyna Magdylan, and learn more information about the protest and the message it is trying to convey.

The Buffalo protest was just one of approximately 200 across the nation that support this same cause. According to the press release issued on February 10 regarding the rally, three national organizations and one additional organization was in support and in partnership for this protest. These organizations include Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, the Pro-Life Action League, Created Equal, and 40 Days for Life. Despite the involvement of these organizations and Magdylan reaching out to multiple local news outlets, only WBEN Radio and the Griffin showed up to the event or responded to the press release.

When discussing the reasons to defund Planned Parenthood, Magdylan referenced the statistic that only one out of five women in the United States will visit a Planned Parenthood in their lifetime. Therefore, she would like to allocate the funds that Planned Parenthood receives to other Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) which would provide healthcare services for women, men, and children. However, according to Planned Parenthood’s website, “most of Planned Parenthood’s federal funding is from Medicaid reimbursements for preventive care, and some is from Title X.” Although a central issue in this discussion is abortion, the rally’s message focuses specifically on defunding Planned Parenthood as a whole and avoiding using taxpayer dollars for this organization.

“PP receives over half a billion in taxpayer dollars, $553 million, annually,” said Magdylan. “$430 million of that comes from the federal government and the rest from the states.”

A common argument presented to Magdylan and those in support of defunding Planned Parenthood is the figure that only about three-percent of the services that are provided are abortions. However, Magdylan claims that this statement omits information. She pointed out steps of the abortion process that Planned Parenthood has woman go through, such as counseling, a chest x-ray, blood tests, and so on. However, she says that these costs and numbers are not included in the three-percent that Planned Parenthood presents, although they are apart of the abortion process. She believes it is a “trick.”

“They just count the abortion itself,” said Magdylan. “They just filter out every last little thing they can.”

Although Magdylan does not want to provide abortion services in the new FQHCs, she wants to provide healthcare for all groups and members of the American population. She believes that these centers will be able to better service a larger group and be more open to men and children, along with women. Additionally, despite abortions not being included, contraceptives and birth control will both be available in the FQHCs.

Magdylan also addresses the misconception that some hold, believing all people who are pro-life as radical Trump supporters. Despite President Trump’s declaration that he is pro-life, Magdylan is unsure whether Trump will ultimately decide to support their cause of defunding Planned Parenthood. Although she hopes that he does, she also wants to encourage other politicians to examine this and take action. However, she wants to make sure that the American public looks at the issue at hand and does not focus on a particular individual in power, like Donald Trump.

“No matter what they think about Donald Trump, this is an issue,” said Magdylan. “It should be about an issue, not a person.”

While Magdylan might not feel that abortion is necessarily the best or right choice to make in many situations, if any, she acknowledges that abortions have been occurring for years upon years. The protest for defunding Planned Parenthood would not mean that abortion is illegal; in fact, that was not what the protest was about at all. Planned Parenthood is an institution that has a very narrow focus of care, mostly being associated with catering to women’s needs.

“If we defund PP and allocate that money to FQHCs instead, we can offer a wide variety of healthcare services (cancer screening, addiction counseling, cardiac rehab, prenatal and neonatal care, etc.) to our entire population, instead of one very expensive service to one specific group,” Magdylan said.

In addition to this, Magdylan emphasizes that women do in fact have control of their body, and have the ability to make choices in regards to their bodies. She argues that one has the option to make the initial decision to participate in sexual acts, and once one has made this decision, then they should take responsibility for their actions. By defunding Planned Parenthood and making it more difficult to get an abortion, Magdylan believes it will force not only women, but also men, to take accountability for their decisions and think more in depth before they choose to make them.  

“We support and uphold a woman’s right (and responsibility) to ‘choose’ wisely how she uses her body – and men, too,” said Magdylan.

Despite this strongly held belief, Magdylan does understand that extenuating circumstances can occur, such as a mother’s health being threatened during pregnancy or cases of rape. Although Magdylan is extremely sensitive to situations involving rape, and acknowledges the trauma that the victims go through, she does not think that the woman’s problem will be solved by having an abortion if the woman does become pregnant. Alternatively, she believes that this will only add to the trauma that the woman has to face from the rape.

“Having an abortion doesn’t make the rape go away. Nothing does,” said Magdylan.

The United States of America, due to the recent election and inauguration of President Donald J. Trump, is in a current state of divisiveness and polarization. No matter what your political leanings or personal beliefs are, Magdylan encourages dialogue and discussion between all individuals. Ultimately, she believes that no solution will be reached without these debates and encourages everyone to work on being able to view life from another person’s perspective.



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