OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) - Northern California Planned Parenthood supporters are planning a day of action in Sacramento January 17th to rally against Republican efforts in Washington DC to defund the century-old organization.
The "Pink Out Day" will begin at noon and organizers say two bills will be introduced in the state legislature to oppose the Republicans' defunding measure.
Republicans have tried to cut funding to Planned Parenthood for years and now, just weeks away from GOP control of Congress and the White House, the House Speaker Paul Ryan officially told reporters that 'The Planned Parenthood legislation would be in our (repeal) bill" which aims to repeal President Obama's health care act.
House Democrats responded quickly.
"We're not going back. We are not going back. We will stand our ground. We will fight that decision to defund Planned Parenthood and you know what, the American people are with us," said California Democrat and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
Planned Parenthood operates 650 clinics nationwide and stands to lose about $400 million a year, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Most of the clients are low-income and covered under Medicaid reimbursements which would be gutted under the Republican proposal.
"Abortion services make up only 3 % of what we do," said Gilda Gonzales, Interim CEO of Planned Parenthood Northern California.
Planned Parenthood officials say under a 1976 law, the clinics already cannot use those federal funds for abortions.
Instead, they say any Republican defunding effort would impact the non-abortion services provided, including contraceptives and screenings for HIV, STDs and other health issues. The services supporters say are critical to low income, young or uninsured people.
"So many women depend on Planned Parenthood for things that they might not be able to share with other people," said April Anderson of Oakland, who added she has used the services.
"As a graduate student and a struggling artist, it really, really comes in...it's beneficial to women like me who don't have access to private health care," said Akilah Walker another Oakland resident.
Republicans say they will divert funding to community health clinics.
Opponents, though, say some areas might not have alternatives for women and point out that Republicans are moving forward without having a replacement plan for Medicaid funding cuts.
"Roughly it's about 2.5 million people nationally and here in Northern California about 155,000 so where do these people go? Who serves them?" Gonzales said.