Group holds benefit for Planned Parenthood, to protest sonogram bill

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Vagina Magazine volunteer Mel Martell speaks on the phone at the Lonely Ladies benefit for Planned Parenthood Saturday night. The event featured local music and a vintage trunk show in order to help raise funds for a women’s healthcare center.

Photo Credit: Allen Otto | Daily Texan Staff

A women’s rights group is working with Planned Parenthood to fight new health care legislation they call anti-women and insensitive.

On Saturday, the feminist organization The Lonely Ladies held a benefit for Planned Parenthood to demonstrate their disapproval of the new mandatory ultrasound bill which is now being challenged in court. The event featured local music and a vintage trunk show that raised money for the women’s health care center. A health care bill that includes an amendment to drastically reduce state funding to Planned Parenthood awaits the governor’s signature.

Lindsey Rock, a volunteer for the Planned Parenthood event, said they hope to continue having events to raise awareness and generate money for the clinics.

“I wanted to help support Planned Parenthood since they are losing so much funding,” Rock, who made baked goods for the event, said. “This was my way of contributing to the cause.”

Meagan Dodds, founder of the Lonely Ladies and event coordinator at Volstead Lounge, said the organization is working with Planned Parenthood to fight legislation that requires sonograms for women considering abortions. The groups support the lawsuit against the sonogram law that the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights filed earlier last week.

“[The sonogram law] is outrageous and hurtful to women in every way,” Dodds said.

The law requires abortion providers to give a detailed description of the fetus and requires women to hear the fetal heartbeat 24 hours before they get an abortion. The law exempts rape and incest victims but otherwise does not allow women to opt out of the new requirements. The law stipulates women can turn their head if they choose.

The Center fighting to block the law said it forces doctors to provide information against their will and violates medical ethics because they will be required to perform this procedure against the patients’ wills.

“When you go to the doctor, you expect to be given information that is relevant to your particular medical decisions and circumstances, not to be held hostage and subjected to an anti-choice agenda,” said Nancy Northup, the center’s president, to The Dallas Morning News.

The lawsuit underway will likely be settled by the beginning of September, just before the bill would take effect, said U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks in court.

The Center filed suit against the law after Gov. Rick Perry signed the health care bill into law, including the sonogram amendment from Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston. Perry said the “emergency legislation” was necessary to protect unborn lives.

“This important bill will ensure that a woman, in addition to having all the facts about the life she’s carrying, also understands the devastating impact of this life-ending decision,” Perry said in a speech.

Oklahoma is the only other state that requires abortion providers to perform sonograms, and their bill is facing legal action as well. Other states, including Ohio and North Carolina, have similar laws pending. Battles between abortion providers and state legislators continue in states including Indiana and Kansas, and federal funding for Planned Parenthood barely survived the federal chopping block in the spring. 

Printed on 07/11/2011 as: ‘Ladies’ host benefit for health care center, protest abortion bill