About 50 protesters held a rally outside of this afternoon to protest what they called "anti-choice" votes on Capitol Hill.
Organizers from Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and NARAL Pro-Choice Washington said they delivered about 50 petitions to the office asking Reichert to reverse positions he holds to de-fund Planned Parenthood in the latest round of stop-gap funding measures for the federal budget.
The gathering of protesters wore pink T-shirts with pro-Planned Parenthood slogans and waved placards on 78th Avenue SE at passing motorists—many of whom honked horns in support.
"It's a fun, friendly camraderie out here," said Planned Parenthood organizer Cara Bilodeau. "We will show the community that we're standing firm against cuts to women's health."
Republicans—including Reichert—have targeted the women's and reproductive health non-profit organization for years on the basis of some of its affiliates or providers offering abortion services.
Reichert represents the 8th District, which includes Mercer Island, Bellevue, Renton and many other communities in Southeast King and Northern Pierce counties. While Congress is in recess, Reichert has been all over the district in recent days, prompting protest organizers to gather at his offices this week.
"Clearly, we had to make some tough choices," Reichert said in a Feb. 19 statement following the cuts. "I worked to ensure that spending reductions reflected the priorities of families and businesses in our district. I’m confident that as we move forward, Washingtonians and all Americans will join together in rising to meet the fiscal crisis that faces our nation."
Statements like those have angered Rose Dembo, a longtime Mercer Island resident. Dembo, 59, said she's tried to reach Reichert by phone, letters and email to voice her displeasure with his votes on the issue.
"I received an email with his excuse for voting the way he did," she said. "He said he was voting his personal conscience. He basically doesn't care what his constituents think."
Reichert was over Medina resident Suzan DelBene, but , losing local returns by 15 percent.
NARAL Pro-Choice Washington Executive Director Lauren B. Simonds, M.S.W., said Reichert was betraying campaign promises made last year to focus on jobs and the economy to push an ideological agenda.
"Rep. Reichert has instead decided to undercut the health, freedom, and privacy of Washington women at every turn by supporting the elimination of Title X Family Planning funding and de-funding Planned Parenthood, the largest provider of family planning services in the state," she said.
Attempts to reach Reichert's office were made after normal business hours and were unsuccessful.
Mercer Island Patch will have an updated version of this story when more information is available.