By Kimberly T. Rodriguez
A statewide LGBTQ rights organization joined an unchartered NMSU student organization in a recent rally to support the embattled Planned Parenthood.
Equality New Mexico is New Mexico’s statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer rights and advocacy organization. They seek to empower individuals in the LGBTQ community and to educate the general public about that community.
EQNM supports Planned Parenthood, which has been under fire recently after videos surfaced over the summer, videos in which representatives of the organization talk about selling aborted fetal tissue for profit. An investigation by House Democrats took place and recently found “no evidence” of wrongdoing on the organization’s part.
EQNM partnered with the Student Alliance for Reproductive Justice, an unchartered student organization at NMSU, to host the rally on September 29 in front of Corbett Center Student Union. The rally was part of a nationwide demonstration by the general public in support Planned Parenthood. A similar event took place at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.
“Planned Parenthood includes access to resources, as well as economic, social and political power to make healthy decisions about their body, sexuality, and reproduction,” says Myra Llerenes, southern New Mexico field coordinator based for Equality New Mexico.
Llerenes says the LGBTQ community supports Planned Parenthood because of the services the organization provides that community, such as confidential and low cost STI screenings, flu shots, counseling for HIV, birth control, and LGBTQ safe sex education.
NMSU senior Freddie Avila witnessed the rally.
“I found out that it is not only about pro-choice, but it is also about feminism and also about the rights of the LGBTQ all raveled into one,” he says. “It’s about women being in charged of their bodies.”
Gretchen Bolsins, a community member, also attended the rally.
“I have been involved with women’s rights now for some time and as soon as we heard about the campus program with Planned Parenthood, I wanted to be involved,” she says. “I feel like people are desperate to make a change and to take the choice of women away, and obviously they will go to great lengths to deceive the population and to deceive politicians into believing some of the rumors that they are spreading.”
The organizers encouraged participants to wear pink on the day of the rally.
Leader of SARJ and NMSU student Sydney Frederickson also encourages students from the NMSU community to join SARJ to discuss and support reproductive health rights.
The next Student Alliance for Reproductive Justice meeting will be held this Thursday, October 15, at seven p.m. on the second floor of Corbett Center.