UW med students petition Paul Ryan on Planned Parenthood funding

JANESVILLE, Wis. - A group of University of Wisconsin medical students met in downtown Janesville Wednesday morning to hand over a petition to Paul Ryan’s constituent service center asking Ryan not to defund Planned Parenthood.

A group of about 50 students, all wearing their white coats and stethoscopes, stood outside Ryan’s Janesville office Wednesday chanting and holding signs.

The event was organized after a group of students was talking about its concern over Planned Parenthood possibly being defunded.

“The vast majority of Planned Parenthood services go toward contraception, STI screening, pap smears. It’s not toward abortion. Planned Parenthood already doesn’t receive federal funding for abortions, so to us this isn’t about abortion, this isn’t about politics, it’s about health care for women and families and our state and the country,” said Renee Sullender, one of the event organizers and a second-year medical student.

Some students wrote a letter to Ryan stating their concerns, and that letter circulated throughout the UW medical community. More than 430 students and professors signed the letter.

“Ultimately what we want is for Planned Parenthood to retain funding and for Title X funding to remain intact,” Sullender said. “Women all around the country benefit from Planned Parenthood services and we don’t want to see that go away.”

A spokesperson for Ryan sent News 3 a statement saying, “Our priority is making sure women get the kind of care they need and we believe that can best be achieved by putting money into community health centers, which provide similar services as Planned Parenthood, but vastly outnumber them.”

Organizers said they’d been reaching out to Ryan’s offices and hadn’t gotten a response, but two organizers did get into Ryan’s office Wednesday and were able to speak with some of his staff.

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