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New York City supporters of Planned Parenthood swarmed Foley Square on Sept. 29, at the #PinkOut rally. Along with the chance to participate in chants like "Show me what democracy looks like! THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE," and listen to several speakers, the event gave us the chance to chat with the President and CEO of Planned Parenthood NYC, Joan Mailn, about what government defunding of the organization would look like, and how you can help to stand with PP. 

What would the United States without Planned Parenthood look like?

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Well, it would be 2.7 million women and men without healthcare services, it would be millions of people without sex education, and there would be parts of the country where there would be no reproductive healthcare services. So it would indeed be very bleak. And for poor women really access to healthcare would be just so diminished, there would be virtually no healthcare. But we can look at Texas, there were 40 reproductive service centers, there are now down to eight, and there’s none on the border. All of the eight centers are in urban areas, so that is just denying access, women cannot travel hundreds of miles to get reproductive services, they need it in their communities.

A sea of pink at the #PinkOut rally Sept. 29 in Foley Square.

If the government does defund Planned Parenthood, what would the next steps be? 

Well, I think the estimate was more than $450 million dollars nationally would be lost. For us in New York City it’s $9 million dollars out of a budget of $44 million. And the infuriating part is that that affects our HIV testing, street outreach, sex education, and our family planning services. It affects all of those services that really allow women to build their lives. It’s our basic preventative care. That’s what they are defunding. 

CEO and President of Planned Parenthood NYC Joan Marin with me and my fellow BUST intern Kaya at the Planned Parenthood rally Sept. 29 in Foley Square

Is there a way to support women in the communities that are having trouble accessing reproductive healthcare?

Fundamentally, it is vote for elected officials who want to make sure these services continue, who want to make sure there’s public dollars. Look, I think that all put together, I love the national abortion group that allows women to get access, that’s great, but it should not take the place of public funding. This is public health. It’s public education. Public dollars need to be there.

President and CEO of Planned Parenthood NYC Joan Marin addresses the crowd. "Today we stand up and we fight back," Marin said as the crowd erupted in cheers.

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What are the best ways for people to stand with Planned Parenthood right now?

Let your elected officials know, wherever you live, whoever your Congress folks are, just get to them. We cannot let this defunding go forward. Get involved. I love the many voices at this event, young women saying they understand reproductive justice, they understand social justice issues. Seeing it all as apiece. We need young people to get involved, we need them to be activists, we need them to talk to their elected officials, and we need them to vote. And sign up and join our activist council.

A group of Planned Parenthood supporters pose proudly with their demands. My uterus, my rules.

Anything else you’d like to add?

If you see this crowd, it was an incredibly diverse, young crowd. People are so committed to Planned Parenthood. They understand what role we play in the community, and the love is enormous. It means the world to me as the CEO, and it means the world to our staff. But take this, and go all the way across the country.

Despite what the right wing rhetoric is, people love Planned Parenthood, and they can’t believe that they would take it away.

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THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE! Sorry, I got excited. This rally was so juiced with passion and energy. But like Joan said, there are tons of ways to stand with PP. Join in today! 

Images via BUST/Kellie Galentine and Kaya Payseno, Giphy

More from BUST.com:

The Many Faces Of #PinkOut For Planned Parenthood

5 Ways To Stand With Planned Parenthood

#ShoutYourAbortion Founder Amelia Bonow Talks Going Viral And Fighting The Trolls: BUST Interview

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