Women rally in support of Planned Parenthood and women’s access to health care. (Courtney Planned Parenthood’s Twitter, @ppact.)

When Marisa Pollack first learned about the issues surrounding women’s health care, she wanted to do whatever she could to help ensure all women have access to affordable care.

Pollack, a West Windsor resident, is hosting a Stand With Planned Parenthood event at the West Windsor Library on Friday, May 5 from 12:30 to 4 p.m.

Attendees will write letters in support of Planned Parenthood and send them to their elected officials in Congress. Pollack hopes that writing letters will have a greater impact than making phone calls or sending emails because the representatives will have something tangible sent to them directly from their constituents.

Marisa Pollack

A Women in the Law Seminar at Rutgers University at Mercer County Community College initially inspired Pollack to take action. She learned that centers and clinics that provide women with access to affordable health care have been under a seemingly constant threat of being defunded, which spurred Pollack into helping educate others about what these health centers do for women.

“The reason that I’m doing it is because of the constant attack that Planned Parenthood is under, especially in the recent political climate,” she said.

On the local level, Pollack cited Gov. Chris Christie’s 2010 $7.5 million budget cuts to women’s health services, including Planned Parenthood. According to the Family Planning Association of New Jersey, six out of 58 family planning clinics closed in the state following the budget cuts. These clinics provided women with access to health screenings, birth control and other medical care, but did not directly fund abortions.

Pollack has also noticed an increase in threats to defund Planned Parenthood and other health clinics at the national level. Since President Donald Trump’s inauguration, Pollack has received emails from Planned Parenthood every few days about different bills and proposals that would threaten their funding.

“In my opinion—and I think most people feel this way—women should have access to affordable health care,” she said. “I think the main issue is that there’s such a stigma around Planned Parenthood. People think they only provide abortions, when they do so much more.”

Planned Parenthood provides reproductive health care, sex education, birth control, cancer screenings and other health services, according to their website. Pollack hopes that in addition to informing Congress about the local support for Planned Parenthood, the event may also educate others about the services they provide.

“Women don’t really have that many options when it comes to health care,” Pollack said. “Planned Parenthood offers affordable health care, which many people unfortunately aren’t able to attain otherwise.”

While Pollack has done some small charity work in the past, this is the first time she’s organizing an event herself. The feedback has been positive so far, she said. Her family, friends and Women in Law professors Lisa Kaado and Jeanne Fox have been both inspirational and supportive.

The West Windsor Library is located at 333 North Post Road, Princeton Junction. The event will be held in room 2/3, and the library notes that meetings of any organization in the building do not imply an endorsement of its programs. To register for the event, or for more information, email marisa_pollack@yahoo.com.

The reporter is not related to the subject of this story.