Approximately 30 people from Putnam, Rockland and Westchester Counties rallied in Fishkill Thursday against Congresswoman Nan Hayworth's (R-NY 19) stance on federal funding for Planned Parenthood.
Members of Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic and Planned Parenthood Mid-Hudson Valley organized the gathering, which garnered frequent honks and cheers from passing vehicles at the intersection of Routes 9 and 52, less than a mile from one of Hayworth's offices. Critics expressed their disappointment in Hayworth for voting against federal funding for the organization earlier this year.
Nat Sillin, Hayworth's communications director, said in a phone interview that Hayworth's stance stems from a belief that taxpayers should not fund "elective abortions." He also confirmed that Hayworth is pro-choice.
Men and women of all ages — from 11 to 60 years old — held signs, some of which named the congresswoman directly, in support of Planned Parenthood. Organizers expected a total of 50 people to attend the rally, which was slated to run from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
"Our goal was to get constituents of Hayworth here and to really make sure people understand her position on reproductive healthcare rights," Reina Schiffrin, the president of the Hudson Peconic branch, said.
Schriffin said that the federal funding Planned Parenthood receives goes to preventative services, like examinations and contraception, in accordance with Title X. Title X is a program that provides grant money for
"We are appalled and shocked that she would not want to support the millions of women and men who benefit from Title X in every state," Schriffin said.
Sillin said that there is no way to ensure that federal funding for Planned Parenthood does not got to elective abortions. He called it a budgetary issue.
According to Schriffin, abortion is a moot point because of the Hyde Amendment. She said that the organization has requested to meet with the congresswoman several times, but has come face-to-face only with her staff.
"We really need to meet with her and have a respectful discussion," she said.
Sillin said he could not comment on specifics requests without looking back into notes, but confirmed that Hayworth's staff has been in touch with the organization.
"The bottom line is she [Hayworth] would be more than happy to meet with the president [of Hudson Peconic Planned Parenthood]," he said.