To those with a body who are feeling unseen by the incoming administration,
Planned Parenthood of New York City sees you, and we will continue to see you, no matter what.
You have a body, and caring for that body may be about to get tougher — although let’s be real: did it ever feel easy to begin with?
You have already triumphed against so much by the time you walk through our doors in Manhattan, in Queens, in Staten Island, or in Brooklyn or through the doors of any of the Planned Parenthoods in the country that work every year to care for more than 2.5 million people and their beautiful and sometimes complicated bodies and lives.
Before getting to our waiting room, maybe you went through an education system that does not offer comprehensive sexual education and so found yourself on the precipice of adulthood without the language or knowledge that you need to stay safe.
Before seeing one of our high-quality, expert care providers, perhaps you navigated a health-insurance system that denied you affordable care. Maybe you left a country, a family, all your belongings behind to seek a better life in the United States and have everything it takes — the will, the fierceness, the grit — except the papers that allow you to pursue it.
Perhaps you’ve had to sneak past a partner or a parent to access the care you need at Planned Parenthood; or you’ve had to ask a friend to accompany you, a boss to give you time off from work that you know you can’t afford; or a sister to watch your beautiful baby while you get care here.
We see you. We see what you’ve been up against to get to us, and we vow to protect the care you have come to rely on us for and to fight like hell to keep the incoming administration from shutting down our health centers.
What I vow to do, what Planned Parenthood will do, is hold the intersection. Many of us will take to the streets and march in New York City, in Washington D.C., in hometowns across the country on Saturday, January 21. We march to be counted; we march so our unrest is made visible, so that the transgressions — those already committed and those threatened by the incoming administration during its campaign and that still ring in our ears — against our bodies can be made manifest as we gather together in solidarity. Together we will make sure that our message is clear: that a transgression against one group of people is a transgression against all of us, that we stand in solidarity because we know that our oppression is collective.
I march because I fear that if I stay still, the feeling of being on the precipice of this administration will be overwhelming. I will march in order to keep moving, to make literal my commitment to forward movement, to moving beyond this Congress and this vice president and this president — a phalanx mostly comprising men who have worked their entire political careers to amplify the vulnerability and powerlessness of the most marginalized people in this country.
I march because most of the incoming administration has worked to strip the rights and silence the voices of the communities that Planned Parenthood serves, to harm the bodies that we are dedicated to caring for. I march to be transformed and because Planned Parenthood knows, now more than ever, that it is time to take care of one another, to demonstrate wild love for the womyn in our lives, the people of color, the students, the indigenous people, the Muslims, the immigrants in our lives. Planned Parenthood knows that these bodies will serve as battlefields for the next four years, and we promise to stand by these communities and help them navigate a country where the powers that be will be advocating for the total erasure of our narratives, our lives, our pain, our right to claimed space, and sometimes even our right to breathe.
The politicians aligned against reproductive health care and those who support their regressive and oppressive policies fear Planned Parenthood and the communities we serve, fear any perceived loss of their own power, and indeed fear any change at all. The men who will govern from this place of hate know that inclusivity, multiculturalism, and widening boundaries dissolve their power. They know that curiosity, compassion, a radical commitment to caring for all, and the empathy embedded in that worldview can be a path to revolution, and they are trying to shut that down at every level.
But Planned Parenthood of New York City is here. We are here to take care of your body, to help you enroll in insurance (as long as that remains an option), to offer high-quality and confidential care to every person who walks through our doors. Planned Parenthood will be in the schools, at the basketball courts, and at the libraries to talk to teens about consent, pleasure, healthy partnerships, and sex. We will be at St. Mary’s Park with safer-sex kits, dignity packs, and health care offered right in our mobile medical unit regardless of your age, immigration status, or ability to pay.
I know, our patients know, we all know that health care shouldn’t be political, but it is one of the most obvious inequities in our country. We know that those in power want to defund us by taking away our Medicaid reimbusements and our Title X funding because to care for these bodies is to build power in communities, to make visible communities that the incoming administration would rather not see or hear from. Planned Parenthood is here to see you, to hear you, to care for you, to witness and honor the community you come from.
Planned Parenthood of New York City’s providers are here to serve you in the language that you are comfortable speaking — with more than 200 options — so that the health care you get is the health care you need.
Planned Parenthood thanks you for coming to our defense in 2011 when then Senator Pence first introduced a defunding bill and then again and again and again when the country elected him to serve under a brazen misogynist. You weren’t defending just Planned Parenthood — not us as a company, not us as a brand — maybe not even the Planned Parenthood clinic you visited (as 1 in 5 women across the country will do in her lifetime). You came to our defense, to the defense of the more than 64,000 patients we serve each year right here in New York City, because you know that keeping Planned Parenthood’s doors open and our services available to anyone, regardless of ability to pay, age, gender identity and expression, or immigration status, is a revolutionary act. Your defense our our work and our patients is an act of love in a political climate that is bent on perpetuating hate and intolerance. Thank you.
You came to our defense before and you continue to do so in new, innovative, and inclusive ways. You are bringing us into your lives and conversations, into your fundraisers, art exhibitions, and collective actions. Planned Parenthood of New York City and the communities we serve will need you to continue to do so: your willingness to stand up for us and stand with us is the reason we will never stop caring for all who turn to us.
Planned Parenthood of New York City witnesses the communities the incoming administration campaigned against, that their colleagues in the Senate and House have legislated against for years. We see you — students, women, people of color, those on Medicaid, people with preexisting conditions, and so many more — and we promise to do our part in the revolution by continue to care for these bodies, these narratives, to honor these experiences, these communities. No matter what.
In solidarity and with affection,
Director of Development
Planned Parenthood of New York City