A crowd of 120 supporters greeted the Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s “Women are Watching” bus tour as it rolled into Columbia Thursday evening. The Action Fund has been holding rallies across the country to energize voters in support of candidates who back Planned Parenthood health centers.
The rally took place outside state Senate candidate Mary Still’s campaign office. Michelle Trupiano, the public affairs manager for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Kansas City Mid-Missouri, says women are determined to make a difference in the upcoming state and national elections.
“We’re out here to show that women’s health really is important this election season, that women are paying attention, that they’re going to get out there and vote, that they’re going to work hard to elect candidates that support women’s health,” Trupiano said.
Some women’s rights supporters have been fired up this week following US Rep. Todd Akin's comment that victims of “legitimate rape" have the ability to biologically prevent pregnancies.
State Rep. Stephen Webber also spoke at the rally, asking the crowd to embrace its opportunity to vote against Akin. He says men have as much to gain as women from supporting women’s rights.
“A lot of times as a guy when you talk about women’s issues people get kind of nervous because you’re worried you’re going to say something the wrong way or offend someone, and so I think a lot of people make the choice to just ignore them - to put their head in the sand and not deal with them - and that’s the wrong choice to make,” said Webber.
In the 2008 presidential election, women cast nearly 10 million more votes than men. The Planned Parenthood Action Fund says it's working to make women’s voices even stronger this November.