About 125 people showed up at Congressman Randy Hultgren’s new Geneva office Monday during a rally organized by Planned Parenthood Monday following a vote last week by the House of Representatives to stop its funding.
Hultgren, who represents the 14th Congressional District, was among the 240 legislators who voted in support of the Pence Amendment, which would ban federal funding for Planned Parenthood. The amendment was approved 240-185. The U.S. Senate is expected to consider the issue this week.
“We are urging our U.S. Senators to stand up for women and make sure that funding for preventive women’s health care is in the budget,” said Brigid Leahy, director of legislative services for Planned Parenthood-Illinois.
Leahy said nearly 40,000 Illinois women would lose services, of which more than 90 percent are preventive in nature. She said Planned Parenthood provides access for women to receive the basic health care they need, which includes information on preventing unintended pregnancies.
Congressman Hultgren’s office was crowded with people coming in from the cold and using the bathroom. A few workers could be seen in their offices with the doors closed, including Communications Director Andrew Flach.
Flach said he heard about the rally when he came to work in the morning and that no one had contacted him about it. He said the Congressman was aware of the gathering, but was at various meetings throughout the district and was scheduled for a town meeting in Elburn later in the evening.
About 25 people with anti-abortion signs shouted “You’re a big liar,” and “No compassion” as Leahy addressed the crowd of mostly supporters waving pink signs.
Tom Shenberger of Flossmoor said he made the drive "to protect the young and the innocent.”
“There are many, many abortions being performed there that shouldn’t be,” he said.
Patricia Weber of St. Charles said she didn’t want to see tax dollars supporting what she called the killing of babies.
“Don’t tell me it’s not about abortion,” she said. “Why are we supporting baby killing?”
Leahy told supporters to stand up against “the dangerous and misleading campaign by those who want to shut down our health centers.”
“Without this federal support, we could not care for the many women who come to us for quality, affordable care,” she said
Leahy described the opposition to funding as out of step with America’s values.
Planned Parenthood opened a facility in 2007 at 3051 E. New York St. in Aurora that continues to face controversy from those against its presence in the community.