Republican candidate Donald Trump was elected the 45th President of the United States on Thursday, Nov. 8. Throughout his campaign, the Republican nominee openly discussed his “pro-life” stance on abortions and his desire to defund Planned Parenthood if elected. Now that he has been elected, many women are wondering what changes or limitations they may see in their health care options.
Trump’s election has been controversial, with some celebrating while others took to college campuses and city streets to protest his win, chanting the popular slogan, “Not my President.”
The Planned Parenthood – Hempstead Health Center is located down the block from Hofstra University’s campus, at 540 Fulton Ave. The organization has hosted many events on campus to raise awareness of safe sex practices as well as male and female health issues.
The “Plan Van” can be found on Hofstra’s campus approximately once a semester, and offers students free testing for sexually transmitted infections (STI). Students can be tested for HIV through a blood test, and for chlamydia and gonorrhea through a urine sample. In addition to testing, the Plan Van provides information regarding safe sex practices, contraception and medical options available for those who test positive for an STI.
On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Trump claimed that while he does defend the other work Planned Parenthood does, he still believes it should be defunded if the organization continues to provide abortions. “They do some very good work. Cervical cancer, lots of women’s issues, women’s health issues are taken care of … Planned Parenthood does a really good job at a lot of different areas. But not on abortion. So I’m not going to fund it if it’s doing the abortion. I am not going to fund it,” Trump said in an interview with host Chuck Todd.
Karla Bradley, a Grassroots Organizer at Planned Parenthood Nassau County Action, said that a common misconception about Planned Parenthood is that, “if Planned Parenthood health centers closed, other safety net family planning centers would be able to serve our patients. This is not true. Of the 491 U.S. counties that have Planned Parenthood health centers, 103 of those counties’ only safety net family planning provider is Planned Parenthood. If our centers were to close, 650,000 people would lose access to health care.”
On Nov. 10, 2016, Danielle Gutierrez-Leyva, a senior psychology major at Hofstra, helped organize a silent protest on Hofstra’s campus as a direct response to Trump’s victory. Many expressed their opposition to Trump’s anti-abortion sentiment. We “chose a silent protest because it allowed us to get a point across without interruptions, screams or violence. It was a statement. We gave people food for thought as they walked by,” Gutierrez-Leyva said. She also admitted she was shocked by the outcome and support they received. We “were not expecting such a large turnout, but when over 100 students came out to support, we were given a renewed sense of hope,” she said.
According to Planned Parenthood’s fact sheet, the number of clients served by Planned Parenthood and its affiliates educational outreach programs is roughly 1.5 million people a year.
When asked what would happen if women no longer had access to legal, medical abortions, Dr. Karyn Valerius, the chair of Women’s Studies at Hofstra, said, “Women will lose the fundamental freedom to make decisions about their own lives and bodies. If history is any indication, many women will continue to have abortions, but they will have them illegally.”