Why We March

by Chelsea Handler & Mary McCormack

Today, we stand in solidarity alongside our sisters and brothers who are marching in Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles, and hundreds of other cities around the world.

And before anyone criticizes us for having a march at Sundance, and for only walking four blocks, keep in mind we’re at 7,000 feet, so that’s like marching twelve blocks in Washington.

We’re all here for the same reason… to stand with hundreds of thousands of women to demonstrate respect for our freedom, human rights, safety and health… Otherwise known as “Things We Thought We Were Done Marching For, But Apparently We’re Not.”

Over the past few months, many of us have felt gutted and demoralized. This time last year, it felt like we were on the brink of achieving gender equality: people were talking openly about campus safety for women, the wage-gap, and sexual harassment. We were all excited that the crescendo of this movement was going to be the election of our first female president.

But that didn’t happen. So, yes, we experienced a setback, but the only thing you can do when you’ve been set back is to step forward and continue to fight. And that fight includes standing by an institution that’s synonymous with the health and safety of millions of women across the nation: Planned Parenthood. It’s an institution that’s always had our backs. And now that it’s being threatened and attacked, it needs our support more than ever.

First, let’s start by clearing up the misconceptions about the services that Planned Parenthood provides. For one, Planned Parenthood is not just for women. It’s for men too. And it’s not all abortions. It’s actually mostly NOT abortions. Planned Parenthood provides safe, affordable healthcare to 2.5 million patients a year… services like testing and treatment for STDs, contraception and family planning, breast exams, and cervical cancer screenings.

Planned Parenthood also represents a safe place. A place you can go to not feel alone and where you won’t be judged. A place where you can go when you have nowhere else to go.

So if you object to the work done by Planned Parenthood, then we object to your objection.

We implore the objectors to do their homework… because, if they do, we think they’ll realize that allowing Congress to defund this vital institution would be an enormous mistake that would have far reaching consequences.

Speaking of doing your homework, there are a lot of people who are enjoying their benefits under the Affordable Care Act, but are desperate to repeal Obamacare… So, just to clarify, they’re the same thing. Obamacare is the Affordable Care Act, and the Affordable Care Act is Obamacare.

Now that we’ve cleared that up, back to Planned Parenthood. Many of us have sought out their services at some point in our lives, but even if you haven’t, you have a mother, daughter, sister, friend, or neighbor who has. As women, it’s our responsibility to support one another and ensure that this organization is around for the millions who do rely on it.

If there is a silver lining to be found regarding this past election, it’s that it opened our eyes to the amount of work that still needs to be done. If the election had gone the other way, maybe we would have all grown complacent. Maybe we would have all thought, “Well, the ultimate glass ceiling has been shattered, nothing left to do here.”

But, instead, we got a wake up call. What happened didn’t just open our eyes — it slapped us across the face. Now we’re awake… and more galvanized, focused and motivated to fight.

So if you’re feeling helpless or dejected, just take a look around: you’re not alone. There’s a movement happening, and gatherings like this are just the beginning. We need to seize this moment as an opportunity, not a setback.

The people who oppose women’s rights have gotten bolder, so it’s time for us to get bolder right along with them. If we concede, and allow our country to move backwards on these basic rights, what other freedoms will they take from us?

This isn’t 1917; it’s 2017. We shouldn’t have to fight for progress we’ve already made, but we’re ready to. It’s our duty to take care of the next generation and to ensure that our children have the same access to the essential services that we did… and this is coming from somebody who doesn’t have children. But, as a responsible citizen, I know that we have a duty to protect everyone else’s children. We’ll leave you with a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt… “A woman is like a tea bag… you never know how strong it is until you put it in hot water.”

Who knew we were the new Tea Party?