Today I stood on a sidewalk for two hours to support Planned Parenthood of Indiana and protest Gov. Mitch Daniels’ intention to defund a great organization. Rallies across the state were thrown together at the last minute, so I wasn’t sure how many would show up, but we had 25 people at the height of the gathering. The weather started off cool, windy and rainy, but after about 20 minutes the rain stopped and the sun came out. We still had to deal with the wind, but at least it was a bit warmer.
There were young people, middle-aged people, preteens, an older man who was running for office, parents and a pregnant woman who at one point gestured to her stomach and said, “This is what happens when you take away birth control.” We had signs and noise-makers and asked people to honk to show their support. Probably 100 did so, and as far as I noticed there were only four negative reactions: two shouted comments, one middle finger and one counter-protester from the apartments across the street who showed up toward the end with a sign saying “no gov funding for planned parenthood.” I was watching, and I couldn’t tell anyone supported her position.
Overall I thought it was a success, if a bittersweet one. It might have been more helpful to hold the statewide rallies before HB 1210 passed and Daniels indicated he would sign it. It likely wouldn’t have changed the outcome, but it might have. People are passionate about this issue once they become aware of it. One woman was so dedicated that she was there despite having upcoming finals; she was sitting on the ground studying while holding a “pro primary care” sign. Others couldn’t stay for the whole two hours, but they came for as long as they could. I am hopeful that passion will translate into lots of donations and encouragement for Planned Parenthood of Indiana as it begins the legal battle against this hateful, discriminatory bill.