Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon—the political wing of the family-planning organization—has seen "a noticeable uptick" in financial and volunteer support since the inauguration of the chauvinist-in-chief, President Donald Trump.
"There is a refreshing and really lovely surge in people saying, 'You know, I went to Planned Parenthood when I really needed it 10 years ago, 20 years ago, and I want people to still be able to do that,'" PPA Oregon executive director Mary Nolan tells WW.
Recent orientation sessions for new volunteers have drawn more than double the expected turnout, Nolan says. One such meeting, where volunteers were asked to commit to actions such as legislative advocacy and letter-to-the-editor writing, took place Feb. 4 in Portland.
"We hoped to have 60 and 130 showed up," Nolan says.
A similar overflowing of support took place at a meeting in Eugene the preceding week. And more than 400 people have registered to personally lobby state lawmakers in Salem later this month at an event organized by the Pro-Choice Coalition of Oregon, of which PPA is a member.
"We rented a room to accomodate folks that's bigger than what we had in the last two sessions, and we oversold it in two weeks," Nolan says. "We're scrambling to find additional space."
Nolan says financial support has increased, as well—although not so much that she's breathing easy. "While we're delighted beyond description about the level of financial support and volunteer support that we've experienced, it's not as though we have a surplus, because of the battles we're fighting," Nolan says. "The need may still exceed the surge in resources. We don't know yet."
President Trump—who has never actually denied paying for an abortion—shifted to an anti-choice stance during the campaign. Two days after the Women's March that drew record crowds to protest his presidency, Trump signed an executive order enacting an expanded "global gag rule" that prohibits federal expenditures on programs that "perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning in other nations."
Even more concerning to groups like PPA, Trump promised during a Fox News-hosted debate in October to overturn the historic Roe v. Wade decision guaranteeing abortion rights by appointing "pro-life judges" to the Supreme Court. Trump's first judicial nominee, longtime federal judge Neil Gorsuch, is enthusiastically endorsed by anti-abortion groups even though he has reportedly never ruled directly on an abortion-rights case.
Vice President Mike Pence, who interviewed potential nominees for the administration, claimed in a recent ABC News interview that he didn't even ask Gorsuch about his opinion on Roe v. Wade.
A New York Times analysis of Gorsuch's 2006 book on "The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia" found that the judge was clearly opposed to liberalizations such as Oregon's 1997 Death with Dignity Act but that his views on fetal personhood and Roe v. Wade were ambiguous.