Thousands of demonstrators lined downtown San Jose's streets Saturday in support of national health care provider Planned Parenthood, following GOP statements earlier this year to slash federal dollars to the organization.
STAND San Jose organized a rally and march along The Alameda in San Jose between Taylor and Julian avenues. The San Jose Police Department estimated that the event drew between 4,000 and 5,000 people.
“We’re out here because we feel like it’s important to get involved and stand up for the things we realize are in danger now,” said one female supporter. “We do care about Planned Parenthood, we do care about gender equality and reproductive rights, and we care so much we’re going to come out on a Saturday morning to stand here on a street corner and make sure people know that.”
Women, men and children held signs and cheered to demonstrate their wholehearted support of women’s rights and reproductive services offered by Planned Parenthood.
Two women waved white hangers in front of the crowd in recognition of dangerous abortion practices.
“We don’t want to go back to the days when women had to use these,” said one woman.
San Jose supporters rallied for over two hours before marching down Lenzen Avenue where they gathered to hear from speakers.
Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) praised the demonstrators while also condemning the actions of Republican leaders.
“The Republicans in the House and Senate are off the deep end,” Lofgren said. “They are going to have the vote unless we scare them, and part of scaring them are actions like this.”
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo also took the mic to oppose federal leadership while making a jab at President Donald Trump.
“Here in San Jose we all believe that a woman’s body should be free of governmental interference. And by the way, I define governmental interference to include Donald Trump’s groping,” said Liccardo.
A Planned Parenthood representative thanked demonstrators for rallying in support of the organization and urged everyone to continue to inform legislative officials of the organization’s importance.