Albany Pro-Planned Parenthood Rally: A Reaction

In today’s political climate, one topic that is being hotly debated is healthcare access, both generally and specific to women’s reproductive rights. Maybe it’s because I am a woman, but I have never understood why providing everyone (not just women) with affordable access to healthcare is a topic of debate. That is why it was an honor to be able to attend the reproductive justice rally at the Central Avenue Planned Parenthood in Albany on February 11.

Image via Marley Bonacquist-Currin

I was made aware of the event about five days prior by my friend Marley, who was planning on attending with her mom. Because this was my first time participating in a rally, I was a little nervous about the whole thing, so it was comforting to attend with friends.

Once we got to the rally, the biggest thing that struck me was how large and diverse the turnout was. I think that one of the mistakes some people make when discussing the issue of reproductive rights is that it is viewed as young women’s issue. But the fact is that healthcare is not just a woman’s issue, but a human issue. It was a pleasant surprise to see people from all walks of life present at the rally. People representative of all ages, genders, and sexual orientations came together to support healthcare access.

Although I have not had a need for the services provided by Planned Parenthood at this point in my life, it is scary to think of a future where Planned Parenthood is not there, should I need it. At the rally, I heard stories from people who were able to receive vital cancer screenings, contraceptive options, and sexual education for their children, all because of Planned Parenthood. When I think about these and the many other ways in which Planned Parenthood has helped so many people, it is horrifying and completely unacceptable to me that eliminating this resource is even an option.

Throughout most of my life, I have been searching for a place to belong, to feel like I am a part of something important.  Because of social media, I have been able to achieve some of this. I have had the opportunity to share and speak out on things that are important to me, without having to go outside of my comfort zone.  Being the introverted person that I am, attending this rally was something that made me very uncomfortable. However, once I got there, I realized that it was the single most inspiring moment of my entire life.

The theme of the rally was “This is what democracy looks like.” It was a pleasure to stand up for something meaningful and, for the first time, actively participate in our democracy.