Hundreds of Planned Parenthood supporters rally in downtown Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE -- Planned Parenthood supporters rallied in downtown Milwaukee on Saturday, February 25th. Their message: Threats to defund will not come without a fight. They had a special message for House Speaker Paul Ryan.

Hundreds of supporters from across the area filled the ballroom at the Hilton Milwaukee Center. State and national leaders rallied supporters as well as Planned Parenthood National President, Cecile Richards.

"We gotta link arms, we gotta fight back, we gotta stand up," said Richards.

Richards encouraged the crowd to stand up to House Speaker Paul Ryan. 

"You need to let him know that people in Wisconsin deserve the same ability to choose their doctor as he and every member of Congress have," said Richards.

The organization points specifically to a leaked draft proposal blocking Medicaid reimbursements from Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin President and CEO, Tanya Atkinson, says the affects would be devastating. 

"50,000 of our 60,000 patients rely on Medicaid for their health care. So 50,000 patients across Wisconsin may not be able to use Planned Parenthood as their health care provider," said Atkinson.


The mostly female crowd shared their stories. Gina Walkington says Planned Parenthood helped her catch precancerous cells during a visit when she was 20 years old.

"Had I not had that access at the time, who knows what would have happened," said Walkington.

Speaker Ryan's office responded in a statement:

"Our goal is making sure women get the kind of care they need and we believe that can best be achieved by putting money into community health centers, which provide similar services as Planned Parenthood but vastly outnumber them."

The group vows this is only the beginning of a battle they will not give up on.