More than $25,000 has been raised for Planned Parenthood in Glenwood Springs, after a whirlwind local fundraising campaign. As Aspen Public Radio’s Elise Thatcher reports, the money was presented to the nonprofit on Monday morning.
A small crowd is talking and shivering in the slushy parking lot outside the Glenwood Springs Planned Parenthood health center. Glenwood Springs resident Norman Vaughan is holding a sign showing sperm and an egg. “I’m here to support Planned Parenthood,” he says. “I was really dismayed to find out that our County Commissioners would be influenced like they were.” Commissioners pulled $1500 in grant money in response to what they say were politically polarizing emails to a Commissioner from a group fundraising for Planned Parenthood.
Vaughan says his daughter and a grandson have have received care at the Glenwood Springs location. He is one of many who decided those appointments are worth funding, and they cheer as Carbondale resident Ashley Johnson presents Planned Parenthood manager Rebecca Murray with a check for $25,000. The money was raised since Commissioners cut County funding two weeks ago.
“This is truly amazing,” says Murray, who’s a little thunderstruck. She’s been at the center for nearly fourteen years. “It shows strength in our community, and I’m so proud to be a resident of Garfield County, and be offering women’s health services.” Murray tears up, holding the gigantic check in front of her.
“I guess we showed them, didn’t we,” says Rifle resident Jane Holt. She’s especially frustrated that County Commissioners cut its funding, because it covers cancer screening. Holt is a three time cervical cancer survivor. “Now we need to show [Commissioners] at the ballot box. That’s the next step.” That’s a consistent theme here, and fundraiser Ashley Johnson is well aware. “I think I’m actually going to attend one of the County Commissioners meetings,” she says emphatically. “I definitely want to take a more active role, I think that they need to be gone. I think we need some new county commissioners.”
Johnson, who has two children, says Planned Parenthood was her only source of medical care during her first three years in the Roaring Fork Valley. She’s keeping the fundraising page and Wells Fargo bank account open, for more donations.