The election of the Trump/Pence ticket has been a shot in the arm for Planned Parenthood.
About 800 people have contacted Planned Parenthood of New York City offering to volunteer since Nov. 8.
Donations have increased, “but it is too early to tell by how much,” for the local affiliate, said Adrienne Verrilli, associate vice-president of communications for PPNYC.
“Since election night we’ve seen an outpouring of support on our social media properties and online from both new and longtime supporters, friends, and grateful patients through email, phone calls, and donations,” PPNYC said in a statement.
Visits for long acting reversible contraceptive methods increased 33 percent in the week after the election and the organization has also seen 25 to 33 percent more calls each day from patients needing appointments.
“Patients are very concerned that they will lose their health insurance or lose their birth control access under a new administration,” said Carrie Mumah, PPNYC’s director of digital and media relations.
President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to curtail abortion and dismantle the Affordable Care Act, which has provided health insurance to an additional 20 million Americans. Vice-President-elect Mike Pence is an avowed foe of abortion and tried repeatedly as a congressman to defund Planned Parenthood.
A wise-acrey online campaign to donate money to Planned Parenthood Federation of America in Pence’s name has attracted more than 160,000 donations. The PPFA website allows donors to earmark their donations for particular affiliates and West Village social worker Eva Brams, 70, took care to direct the $60 donation she made this month for NYC. “I wanted to do what I could to prevent Donald Trump from making America great again,” Brams said drily.
Childrens’ rights attorney Shirim Nothenberg, 48, signed up to be a PPNYC volunteer. While Nothenberg is happy to prepare amicus briefs and do legal research, the Park Slope resident would also escort abortion patients through protestors or stuff envelopes.
“Doing something makes me feel more empowered,” she explained. “Each person has a role to play in protecting what we feel is fundamental,” to the health of women and the health of the country, she added.
“I truly was inspired,” to donate money to Planned Parenthood in the name of Mike Pence, said Mary Brown, 56, a family law attorney from Brooklyn.
“Were it not for him, I would not have made the donation. I’m looking forward to them sending him a thank you note.”
When Brown was a teenager living in a rural area, “Planned Parenthood was the only place a teenager could go for birth control. It’s just incredibly important,” that access to contraception and abortion rights be preserved, she said.
Jarel Melendez, 30, a youth advocacy coordinator who lives in the Bronx, recently gave $100 in Pence’s name to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America – twice his usual annual donation.
Melendez is a gay black man unlikely to ever need Planned Parenthood’s services, but said he was alert to his gender privilege: “Women have fewer rights than men, and right now the women need some money!” he exclaimed. “Women and gays are the two groups he has just dehumanized,” continued Melendez, noting that Pence persists in supporting the oft-debunked “conversion therapy,” for gay men and lesbians to change their sexual orientation.
Politics is already affecting women’s health care and their health choices, observed Dr. Linda Prine, the medical director of the Reproductive Health Access Project. Community clinics have had a “dramatic uptick” in requests for IUDs and implants from patients “due to fears they will lose their health insurance and not be able to afford to pay out of pocket” for birth control pills.
“We had a patient who had a contraceptive implant for two and a half years,” that was approved for three years of use but could last five years. “She decided to get it switched out now,” in hopes the new implant “will last her through the Trump years,” Prine said.