Pro-choice Protesters Surround Rep. Reichert Office

About 50 demonstrators delivered petitions to U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert's office and waved signs outside in protest of his recent votes.

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.

thebardofmurdock March 25, 2011 at 10:28 AM
Planned Parenthood With apologies to Joyce Kilmer, author of Trees I thought that I would never see A program sacred as P.P. A program that Barack will back Against the GOP attack. A program Biden will defend Against the budget cutting trend. A program for which Nancy fights Beneath the flag of women's rights. A program for which Harry Reid Would shutter government indeed. When deficits begin to squeeze We see their true priorities. While other programs come and go This sacred cow must stay just so. thebardofmurdock.blogspot.com
Laurie Johanson-Dong March 26, 2011 at 01:07 AM
I was glad to be one of the Eastside Choice Action team members who delivered the petitions to Mr. Reichert's staff, to participate in the protest, and am hopeful that more will join in letting Mr. Reichert know that he must begin to vote as his constituents are concerned on this and other issues. Could he please consider putting aside some of his own personal opinions as we do have laws to uphold and as long as it is the law of our land that abortion is legal (and will/should always be) I wish he would look at the myriad of services Planned Parenthood provides and not only consider the issue of abortion. I will continue to ask him to reconsider his votes on this issue but until he does I will continue to protest and work towards the election of another candidate in this district. His office staff was polite but we were not given an opportunity to speak with anyone in regards to the issue we hope he will address soon and perhaps explain more about why he continues to vote his personal, perhaps religious view, when so many in his district do not agree with him.
Rose April 18, 2011 at 10:41 PM
Fawn, Planned Parenthood does not use tax payers money to pay for abortion services. Tax payer money pays for services like bith control, STD screenings (for men and women) and crevical cancer screenings. If PP is not funded these services for young and poor women disappear!


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