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By Chelsea Smiley Planned Parenthood Generation WWU hosted a rally in Red Square on Friday, May 11, to bring awareness to reproductive justice. “Reproductive justice is regulating my uterus less than the way we regulate guns in this country,” English instructor Ashley Nicole Hollan said. Reproductive justice is the complete physical, mental, spiritual, political, economic and social well-being of women and girls, based on the full achievement and protection of women’s human rights, according to Berkeley law school’s definition. “Reproductive justice is when everybody can receive healthcare in confidence and with compassion,” Hollan said. “Yesterday was my 26th birthday, or otherwise known as the birthday you get kicked off your parent's insurance.”

Maddie Rackers shows she pro-choice in Red Square on May 11. // Photo by Chelsea Smiley
Hollan said she feels lucky because she knows that Planned Parenthood would have her back, regardless if she were on her parent's insurance or not. Hollan has volunteered with Planned Parenthood for eight years, not only in Washington but also in Iowa and Minnesota and has lobbied to the state legislature and testified to the Senate for the 12-month birth control bill. “I’m here to tell you that this works,” Hollan said to the crowd. “You being here right now is working.” Attendees held signs and chanted in support for Planned Parenthood and the healthcare services they provide nationwide. Student Maddie Rackers personally thanks Planned Parenthood for her existence. “I would not be here if my mother had not had Planned Parenthood to help her when she was in college,” said Rackers. Rackers praised Planned Parenthood for not being just an organization but also being a support system. It’s a community that helps you find your identity and also feels like a family, Rackers said.
Freshmen Loren Peterson and Skyler Singer show off their handcrafted signs before the rally on May 11. // Photo by Chelsea Smiley
Freshman Eloise Steer said before she took the time to educate herself about Planned Parenthood, she knew almost nothing about it. Now she is more inspired than ever and is looking to minor in women’s studies to fit in with her environmental policy major. “Giving women access to education and healthcare is the fifth-best way of reducing carbon emissions worldwide,” Steer said. “My point is to get involved.”
Senior Ali Brenes flashes a smile and a sign on May 11. // Photo by Chelsea Smiley
  Senior Ali Brenes said that this rally is a visible way for Western students to show support and to give students a platform to share how Planned Parenthood has helped them. “I hope this [rally] helps people who have had to rely on Planned Parenthood feel less alone, and feel just the sense of community that Planned Parenthood brings to Western,” Brenes said.  

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