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Advocacy groups report spike in support, donations following election

November 14, 2016 — Planned Parenthood Federation of America, NARAL Pro-Choice America and other advocacy groups have reported an increase in donations and support following the presidential election last week, STAT News reports (Robbins, STAT News, 11/10).

Background

On Tuesday, Donald Trump won the presidential election, while conservative lawmakers won the majority of seats in the House and Senate and two-thirds of state governorships.

During his campaign, Trump pledged to appoint antiabortion-rights justices to the Supreme Court (Women's Health Policy Report, 11/10). In a list of possible appointees, Trump included three federal appeals court judges who ruled that organizations that hold themselves out as religious and oppose contraception should be exempt from the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) (PL 111-148) contraceptive coverage requirements. Another possible appointee ruled in favor of a 2012 South Dakota law mandating that providers tell women medically unfounded statements about abortion care, while a fifth -- a former congressional lawmaker -- sponsored a bill that would have banned a medically proven method of abortion care (STAT News, 11/10).

Trump also said he would defund Planned Parenthood, which provides contraception among other health care services. In addition, Trump said he would repeal the ACA, under which almost all insurance plans are required to cover all birth control approved by the Food and Drug Administration, including intrauterine devices (Women's Health Policy Report, 11/14).

Advocacy groups report spike in donations, support

Jennifer Aulwes, a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood, said in the days following the election, supporters sent flowers and baked goods to Planned Parenthood facilities in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. Aulwes added that the regional chapter also experienced a "surge" in applications to volunteer, as well as calls, donations and social media support.

She said, "Everyone today is asking, 'What can I do to support Planned Parenthood?'"

Separately, Kaylie Hanson Long, a spokesperson for NARAL Pro-Choice America, said the organization has received an "unprecedented number" of volunteer requests. In addition, she said one supporter told the organization she had updated her wedding registry so that her guests could donate to NARAL Pro-Choice America instead of purchasing traditional wedding gifts.

Thomas Dresslar, a spokesperson for the American Civil Liberties Union, also reported an increase in donations. According to Dressler, following the election, ACLU has received more than 30,000 donations that together total more than $2 million.

Spurred by election, supporters boost advocacy efforts

According to STAT News, several liberal groups on Wednesday held a rally in Boston in response to the election results, advocating for women's rights. About 4,000 people attended the rally.

Separately, Carly Wallace, an undergraduate studying medicine at Boston University, posted pictures of the local Planned Parenthood as a gesture of support. She said while she had not been an active advocate prior to the election, she now intends to donate and "voice [her] disdain" for restrictions on reproductive health care.

Sue Riddle, a Boston-area illustrator, said she was considering increasing her monthly donation to Planned Parenthood in response to the election.

Willie Parker, an OB-GYN based in Alabama who provides abortion care and chair of Physicians for Reproductive Health, praised the outpouring of support, but he urged people to "double down and increase their advocacy." Noting that he hoped people "will be engaged to come off the sidelines," Parker said, "That same energy that ... (has) people dropping off cookies and doughnuts at Planned Parenthood -- that needs to be channeled into sustained, focused political activity," he said.

Parker added, "We have to have sustained political engagement around reproductive rights issues at every level" (STAT News, 11/10).