Planned Parenthood supporters protest at Congressman Dave Reichert's Mercer Island office

Protestors gathered outside Congressman Dave Reichert
Protestors gathered outside Congressman Dave Reichert's Mercer Island office on March 24. They are concerned that Reichert's voting record is jeopardizing women's health.
— image credit: Linda Ball/Staff Photo

About 50 protestors gathered outside Republican Congressman Dave Reichert's office Thursday afternoon. They were protesting Reichert for his recent votes in the U.S. House, which they said were non-supportive of women's health and a woman's right to choose. Reichert represents Washington's 8th Congressional district.

Catherine Swadley said she was there to support Planned Parenthood, because she believes in choice.

"I was a social worker for a long time, and I saw children born of incest," Swadley said.

Sasha Cousineau and Eleazar Juarez-Diaz were there representing NARAL Pro-Choice Washington (National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League). Cousineau said Reichert voted in support of the Pence amendment, which would prevent Planned Parenthood from receiving any federal funds, including money for STD testing, pregnancy testing and cancer screenings.

Cousineau said they were also distressed that Reichert voted to end Title X funding, which supports family planning. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Web site states that the "Title X program is designed to provide access to contraceptive services, supplies and information to all who want and need them. By law, priority is given to persons from low-income families."

"He's been anti-choice for his entire tenure," Cousineau said. "He is not representing his constituency."

Suzanne Skone was protesting because she said Reichert is not supporting Planned Parenthood, one of women's only access to health care.

"For every dollar spent at Planned Parenthood, it saves the state of Washington $4 in medical care costs," Skone said.

Jennifer Glidewell said she was motivated to join the protest because of her concern for women's health care.

NARAL's statement is also urging Reichert to oppose H.R.3, which creates tax penalites for purchasing insurance plans that cover abortion care, and H.R.358, which allows hospitals to refuse to provide abortion care even when necessary to save a woman's life. It would also make it virtually impossible for private insurance companies that participate in the new health care system to offer abortion coverage for women.

The group chose to protest Thursday because Congress is on a recess and they hoped Reichert might be in his office. Swadley said he was not inside; only staff were. The phone went unanswered when the Reporter called for comment.

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