Representatives from the Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia (PPAV) stopped by Congressman Dave Brat’s Glen Allen office Wednesday afternoon to drop off petitions urging him to vote against repealing the Affordable Care Act and any cuts to abortion access. Brat has already said he’d vote against the bill, but not for the reasons PPAV would hope.
Jessi Coble, PPAV Community Organizer, and five other supporters from the community met outside of the Glen Allen office with a box full of over 1,400 petitions, 200+ handwritten postcards, and even a flash drive of all of the petitions, donning bright pink “I Stand With Planned Parenthood” t-shirts.
The stack of letters and petitions – 1,400 from his constituents – were delicately tied together with glitter ribbon and hand delivered to his office. Although not allowed to go up to the office themselves, the demonstrations of opposition were given to a Brat office staffer and legal aide who came downstairs to the lobby instead.
Coble with the box of signatures
Congressman Brat has said he intends to vote against the ACA repeal because the GOP-backed plan isn’t satisfactory and members aren’t allowed to offer amendments during tomorrow’s committee hearing. Brat is a member of the House Budget comittee, the first stop of the new legislation and a failure there would send Trump and friends back to the drawing board as far as repealing Obama’s landmark healthcare reform act. Add to that heavy Democratic opposition which could further delay progress on one of Trump’s campaign promises.
But beyond DC-insider fighting, PPAV wants to ensure Brat votes against the bill and his constituents’ voices are still being heard.
“Our hope is that he kind of stays true to that and doesn’t vote for it even if it’s not for the reasons that we want,” said Coble. “We just want to make sure that he knows that we’re the overwhelmingly majority in this state who don’t believe that the ACA should be repealed, and we obviously don’t want the defunding of Planned Parenthood.”
This isn’t the first time the PPAV have visited his office. They’ve made their presence known protesting his first 2017 town hall, met with him in one-on-one meetings in Washington D.C., and have met with his aides to make sure they’re heard loud and clear.
According to Coble, having strength in numbers is incredibly important to being heard. Showing Brat that they’re listening, even when voting in their favor, may hold some weight in the future, especially for his chances at re-election.
However, the fight isn’t over for Planned Parenthood or their advocates, and the PPAV shows no signs of getting out of “Brat’s grill”. The PPAV will take part in the “Pink Out Day 2.0” rally in Washington D.C. on Wednesday, March 29th, to further demonstrate their power and voices, and show their support for Planned Parenthood.
For Coble, it’s important that supporters of PP actively show their support, especially by contacting your local representatives. “Just stay active, contact your local Planned Parenthood to get involved. We’re trying to expand our efforts in other parts of Virginia, so we’re looking for more involvement.”
Visit the PPAV’s website or look for your local Planned Parenthood to get involved.