Planned Parenthood supporters across the Southern Finger Lakes region assembled outside of Congressman Tom Reed’s (R–N.Y.) Ithaca office downtown and protested the proposed GOP replacement for the Affordable Care Act on Tuesday.
Monday night, the House Republicans released the American Health Care Act, a bill that would prevent people with Medicaid coverage from accessing preventive care from Planned Parenthood health centers among other measures that would dramatically alter the Affordable Care Act.
Nearly 10,000 people in the Southern Finger Lakes region rely on Planned Parenthood for services, its website said. Many of these patients may be left unprotected if the AHCA is passed.
“About 50 to 55 percent of our patients rely on Medicaid,” said Alicia Kenaley ’98, vice president of development and public affairs at Planned Parenthood of the Southern Finger Lakes. “If we were to lose federal funding for Medicaid it would be devastating for women who need these resources.”
Patti Jacobson ’76, an Ithaca resident and Cornell alumna, was one of the approximately 50 women and men protesting outside of Reed’s office.
“I’m here because I support Planned Parenthood and I’m very concerned about federal cuts,” Jacobson said. “Planned Parenthood would lose about half of their budget.”
Jacobson emphasized the necessity for affordable women’s health services. Though Jacobson herself does not receive services at Planned Parenthood, she said many community members that she cares about do.
“I was a volunteer [at Planned Parenthood] in the 70s when I was at Cornell,” Jacobson said. “Since then, I have been a patient and now a supporter.”
Several Cornell students were also present at the protest.
Sarah Murray ’19 called on Cornell students, even those not from Ithaca, to support the residents who rely on the Planned Parenthood services in the region.
“We can’t always be there in person for events like the march in Washington,” Murray said. “But we can be here. Even if Ithaca isn’t your hometown, it’s home for the next four years.”
Planned Parenthood supporters will also be protesting on Saturday, March 11 at Congressman Reed’s town halls. Supporters from the Southern Finger Lakes region will be attending at all four locations — Pulteney, Ovid, Manchester, N.Y. and Ithaca.