Who really Panic!ed at Trump’s close ban on Planned Parenthood funding

By Angelina Miller
March 30, 2017


In the dark without counseling.

Deprived of help for health-care services.

Lacking necessary guidance for family planning.

Uneducated on sexually transmitted diseases.

Absent knowledge of reproductive problems.

This is what many people, both young and old, would be without non-profit organizations such as the International Planned Parenthood Federation. Some educated individuals, such as Brendon Urie, the front-man of the pop-rock band Panic! at the Disco, are not afraid to publically support the organization.


Welcome to the end of eras

On January 23, 2017, President Trump attempted to cut off funding to organizations such as the Planned Parenthood and others for the purpose of them performing abortions overseas and lobbying for legalizing abortions in foreign nations.

Beginning in 1984, President Ronald Reagan picked up a game of political football by initiating the first policy to ban government funding of foreign pro-abortion groups. President George H.W. Bush then maintained this policy until Bill Clinton revoked it, following with President George W. Bush reinstating it and Barack Obama reversed it again in 2009. Now, President Trump decided to pick the football back up and reinstate this policy. However, it has been obvious that not everyone stood by his decision.

A view of the Women’s March in Minnesota on January 21, 2017 from the eyes of 20 year old Brianna Barstad. (Photo submitted by Barstad).

“After I started college, I realized how many of the women in my life depend on Planned Parenthood,” 20 year old Brianna Barstad said. As a neuroscience and psychology major at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, Barstad openly stands by Planned Parenthood because of the support, procedures and care she believes they provide for all individuals, regardless of race, religion, sexuality and class.

“From birth control, to check-ups and breast exams, I view this resource as something essential. Especially taking places with lower incomes, and near college campuses into consideration – where those who do not have the means, or whose parents will not support them, can live a healthy and productive life they way they choose to do,” Barstad said.

In comparison to Barstad, Carolanne Deal, a 20 year old art history major at the University of Delaware, also thinks of Planned Parenthood as an essential establishment for many. “There is a Planned Parenthood office right next to my apartment complex,” Deal said. “It is comforting to know that I have the resources available to me at a convenient spot, if I was in need of them.”

Others such as Vanessa Miranda, a former Cabrini Mission Corps Missioner and current teacher’s aide at an elementary school in San Jose, CA, view the organization as a positive resource for those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. In her eyes, three is an obvious, current lack of LGBTQ centers across our country. “There is only one transgender resource center in state of New Mexico, but there are six Planned Parenthood centers in the state,” Miranda said. “Planned Parenthood has often been a hot topic in the media because of its abortion services, but by closing these centers, LGBTQ populations will also be affected,” Miranda said.

LGBTQ rights are important to many individuals today, including Deal and her girlfriend Elena, who are open members of the LGBTQ community themselves. The two personally advocate for the rights of the community by attending equality events on University of Delaware’s campus, donating to the Human Rights Campaign and being active members of Haven, the university’s LGBTQ club.

Along with Deal, Barstad has also been a huge supporter of LGBTQ rights since the young age of 13. “I grew up in an extremely conservative rural community and had multiple instances where I was bullied for even supporting LGBTQ rights,” Barstad said. “However, that has only made me more passionate about supporting their rights as well as women’s rights in general.”

The time for being sad is over

According to Pew Research Center, more than 40 years after the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, 69% of Americans say the historic ruling should not be completely overturned. (Photo credit to PEW Research Center).

Luckily for young women such as Carolanne, Brianna and Vanessa, Planned Parenthood’s President, Cecile Richards, did not let Trump get to her. On March 6, Richards publicly stated via Twitter, “We won’t back down in the face of threats or intimidation, or turn our backs on the patients who count on us. Not today, tomorrow, not ever.” She also pointed out the fact that studies show a majority of people in our country agree with her stance. [See graphic from PEW Research Center]

Two days later, Brendon Urie, Panic! at the Disco‘s front-man, decided to publicly back-up Richards and Planned Parenthood on Twitter. The band made viral news with their creation of a one-of-a-kind Planned Parenthood t-shirt. While supplies were limited and expected to sell out fast, all proceeds were guaranteed to go to Planned Parenthood to show support of the organization and what the band and purchasers stand for. Urie personally wrote out a touching message on Twitter that afternoon, advertising the shirt and thanking all of the band’s fans for their love and support.

The shirt is black and features the band’s name and the words “Care. No matter what” in pink. While it is not expected to be sold on the remainder of Panic!’s Death of a Bachelor Tour, fans had the opportunity to pre-order it on the band’s online store beginning on March 8.

Fans including Kate Howards, a current junior student at North-West Shoals Community College in Florence, Alabama, were heartbroken that the shirts unfortunately sold out in almost 24 hours. However, many others snagged the collectors item early enough and were very excited to stand by Panic! to support the cause.

“When I saw that Panic! at the Disco was doing this fundraiser, I didn’t even blink – I ordered the shirt immediately,” Yvette Simmons, a 34 year old television and radio major at Purdue University Northwest, said. “I was so proud of Brendon Urie when I saw the post. It is brave to be such a public figure and really stand for what you believe in.”

Along with Simmons, Barstad was also very excited to hear that Panic! decided to put their strong platform of mainstream and alternative fan bases to use with the fundraiser. She also noticed how it goes hand-in-hand with what the band preaches at each of their current shows. “Panic! always talks about how young people will ‘change the world’ and should spread positivity and love. This also means taking care of one another, and I believe that is where their basis for having the fundraiser stems from,” Barstad said.

Carolanne and Elena thank Breandan Urie for loving their “gay love.” (Photo submitted by Deal).

Deal has also made note of how Panic! at the Disco’s frontman Brendon Urie has actually discussed his fluid sexuality multiple times before, which she suspects to obviously contribute to the band’s involvement in LGBTQ rights issues.

“My girlfriend and I had the pleasure of meeting Brendon Urie himself in February when Panic! came to Philly’s Wells Fargo Center,” Deal said. “We told him that we fell in love by bonding over his music, and he gave us hugs, smiled so much and told us how sincerely happy that made him. He also paid tribute to the LGBTQ community that night during the performance of his song ‘Girls/girls/boys,’ by having photos of famous LGBTQ icons on the screens play behind him.”

Taylor McColgan, a sophomore psychology major at Cabrini University, also took note of the witty LGBTQ advertising at Panic!’s concert that night. “I really like that Panic! Is so open about their support for the LGBTQ community,” McColgan said. “I’m also glad they did this fundraiser to show their support towards planned parenthood, considering everything planned parenthood is facing in our society today.”

Similar to Deal, Simmons had the opportunity to make her mark on Panic!’s current Death of a Bachelor tour. Along with a few others, she assisting in organizing purple colored paper hearts that the band has now encouraged fans to have with them at each show.

“I printed and shipped out nearly 18,000 hearts to 8 other volunteers so we could pass them out to fellow concertgoers,” Simmons said. “During the song ‘Girls/Girls/Boys,’ fans were instructed to shine their phone flashlight through it, in order to show their support of the LGBTQ community.”

Photo submitted by Yvette Simmons of purple hearts being used at one of Panic!’s concerts.

“It was actually a highly successful endeavor,” Simmons said. “Even though it was costly and consumed about a few weeks of my time, I couldn’t have been any more honored to do it. The positive messages the band stands for makes the cost and time were the least I could do to give back.” The picture featured below is a look into some of Simmons paper hearts lit up at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, IL on March 11, for Panic! At The Disco’s Death of a Bachelor Tour.

While Brendon Urie and Panic! at the Disco have an absurd following of millions of fans that they have built up since ‘04, there are endless other individuals that stand with Planned Parenthood and against Trump as well. In fact, as of Friday, March 24, House Speaker Paul Ryan actually pulled Trump’s bill to repeal and replace Obamacare in a last-minute admission. Apparently, Trump was not able to acquire the required 216 votes for the bill to be passed on Friday afternoon. He then tweeted out a message reflecting his loss that morning:

Tweet from Donald Trump on March 26 after the rejection of his bill.

Regardless of where President Trump may take the future of organizations such as Planned Parenthood though, many continue to feel strongly about refraining from ignorance and continuing to further their education on the issue.

“I feel like people who oppose Planned Parenthood do not understand what it is, or focus on details that are just a minuscule portion of the services they provide,” Yvette Simmons said. “Because of Planned Parenthood though, my friends have been able to practice safe sex and obtain birth control to prevent unwanted pregnancies.”

“I have personal relationships people who could have benefitted from Planned Parenthood, but sadly have had children that they were not ready to raise, resulting in subpar parenting. Families should be planned, not something that is forced – and if in the event someone has an unwanted pregnancy, Planned Parenthood has options. I strongly believe in a woman’s right to choose. No one should make such life altering decisions for other people.”

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Angelina Miller

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