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Planned Parenthood sees post-election surge in donations

Clinics in Vermont, including in Brattleboro, also see increase in number of volunteers

BRATTLEBORO—Planned Parenthood of Northern New England has seen a surge in both donations and in volunteers since the election of President Donald J. Trump.

“The outpouring of support has been tremendous,” said Jill Krowinski, the organization’s outgoing vice president of education and Vermont community affairs.

Since the Nov. 8 election, Krowinski said Planned Parenthood of Northern New England has received more than 600 new donations — roughly half from donors who have never given to the organization before.

The organization is the largest reproductive- and sexual-health care provider in northern New England. It has 12 health centers in Vermont, including a clinic in Brattleboro.

According to Krowinski, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England served approximately 40,000 women, men, and teens, and provided more than $7 million worth of free and discounted health care across Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire in 2015.

The clinic in Brattleboro provided care to more than 1,200 patients for about 1,800 visits in 2015, according to Krowinski.

Planned Parenthood of Northern New England provides OB-GYN care for many Vermonters on Medicaid, Krowinski said, and about 90 percent of the services are preventive in nature, such as cancer screenings, birth control, and sexual-health counseling.

Krowinski said Planned Parenthood is facing significant challenges in Congress with the incoming Trump administration and a Republican-controlled Congress.

The U.S. House is working on a Republican-led bill to take away about $400 million in federal Medicaid funding to the organization as part of a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Current law prohibits the use of federal funds for abortion services. The federal funds that Planned Parenthood now receives pay for providing basic health-care services.

According to a recent report in Seven Days, three of Planned Parenthood’s Vermont clinics — in Burlington, Rutland, and White River Junction — provide surgical abortions to women who are up to 19 weeks pregnant.

Even though only a small percentage of its clinics nationwide perform abortions, Planned Parenthood has been targeted by anti-abortion protests. Most have been peaceful, but there have been several instances of deadly violence.

The most recent came in November 2015, when a gunman killed three people and injured nine others during an attack on a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

“We are trained to help our patients and keep them safe,” Krowinski said. “No matter how great the threat, nothing has ever overcome our commitment to providing high-quality, affordable health care to all people who need it.”

That is why she said she is very appreciative of the outpouring of support that Planned Parenthood has received since the election, because the organization relies on volunteers and donations to fill in for gaps in government funding.

“There is a lot uncertainty ahead, but one thing is clear,” Krowinski said. “We’ll never back down and we will never stop fighting to protect the access to care that our patients depend on.”

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Originally published in The Commons issue #391 (Wednesday, January 18, 2017). This story appeared on page A2.

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