California always marches ahead of the rest of the nation. As Congress tries to cut off access to health care, civil rights and clean air, California doesn’t just resist – we establish new standards of what makes America great. For Planned Parenthood, that means ensuring the nearly 800,000 patients we serve have access to sexual and reproductive health care. No. Matter. What.
Next week, Congress will attempt a regressive and hurtful bill that would hobble health care for Californians and millions more nationwide and try to shutter our health center doors by fully defunding Planned Parenthood.
They even have a backup plan if not enough of the Republican party openly assaults the health of U.S. women by pulling access to contraception and care from millions of daughters, mothers, sisters and wives.
Perhaps inspired or repulsed by the indignity of a Twitter president who trolls any opposition, people are standing up in ways that resonate with their individuality.
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If they can’t defund Planned Parenthood with a bill, Congress will try to attack us in the budget, through tax reform, or by other administrative means. They won’t stop until they deny hundreds of thousands of Californians access to birth control, STI treatment, cancer screenings, and safe, trusted abortion care.
More than ever, we must fight in solidarity to ensure that access to medical treatment is understood as a civil right backed by a sustainable system. Given the stakes, millions nationally have banded together to speak up for Planned Parenthood and our patients in an unprecedented way.
We are thankful for the traditional rallies and marches in cities across the country – but we’re also seeing new creative forms of action, like the display of red-cloaked handmaidens forming human chains on the steps of the U.S. Capitol, the donning of pink “pussy hats” or creative memes that travel around the world. Perhaps inspired or repulsed by the indignity of a Twitter president who trolls any opposition, people are standing up in ways that resonate with their individuality.
Picasso painted one of the most famous modern examples of resistance art in 1937: “Guernica,” the anguished depiction of a Spanish city bombed by Nazis with the blessing of then-general Francisco Franco, who rose to be the country’s brutal fascist ruler. While his grim work was largely ignored when it debuted that year in Paris, it later toured the world and brought the horrors of the Spanish Civil War and the impending German menace to the notice of all.
Without “Guernica,” people may never have understood what happened in this small Basque town, and why it mattered. Art is powerful and has long had a dynamic relationship with resistance movements, because artists are at heart resisters and dreamers.
Every work of art has some aspect of civil disobedience because art by its nature means seeing the world through the lens of individuality and sharing that vision at the risk of scorn, rejection and even violence.
As we at Planned Parenthood fight literally for our existence, we welcome the artist-activists who fight with and for us. In Sacramento, we are embracing the local artists of the resistance at Beacon: Sacramento, a video art installation at 10th and K streets that this week will tell the stories of our patients in beautiful ways.
On Wednesday from 8-10 p.m., we’re closing down the street at Beacon: Sacramento to give the public a chance to experience how these artists see the world. See what access to health care means to them. See how they view Planned Parenthood and the work we do.
Agree or disagree, but see. And know that it’s not all political. We’ll have music, ice cream and pink lemonade, too.
Crystal Strait is the new CEO/President of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.