Pussy Project

Carli Schmidt

Kathie Norman is the youngest of six children, and when her mom was 41-years-old, she got pregnant with a seventh due to faulty birth control. Yet, because of her mother’s age and high blood pressure, doctors told Norman’s mom following through with the pregnancy would be extremely unsafe. During that time, the late 1970’s, abortions were illegal and cost close to — what Norman believes — would be $5000 today. Yet, she says the embarrassment was the worst part.

“My mom said the experience was so humiliating,” Norman said. “The doctor was on the phone with his wife asking what was for dinner while he was doing the procedure.”

Norman revealed her mom’s experience as a part of Planned Parenthood’s “Story Campaign,” a  new movement for real women to share their stories and experiences. The campaign is an attempt to positively change the family planning and health care center’s public perception.

Planned Parenthood’s states states that only three percent of their services are for abortions, while 31 percent are focused on contraception. In combination with this data, Norman believes sharing stories will motivate a crusade of women to proudly proclaim their experiences with Planned Parenthood and “bring the truth out of the shadows.”

Planned Parenthood’s new campaign is a part of an entire marketing strategy including blind surveys and meetings with focus groups to understand public opinion about the health care provider.

Norman recalls one focus group with a woman who adamantly believed abortion was murder. After sitting down and telling the stories of real women who were helped by Planned Parenthood, the woman reconsidered her perspective. “After we made it personal, she completely changed her mind,” Norman said.

Yet, focus groups, surveys, and marketing campaigns may not be enough to protect Planned Parenthood. President Trump’s administration, along with the Republican party, threatens the organization more than anti-abortionists and pro-lifers.

While Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch tried to overturn Roe v. Wade and failed, conservatives have found alternative ways to shut down Planned Parenthood’s throughout the nation, with what Norman calls targeted abortion restriction laws.

“They have passed laws creating 24-hour waiting periods for mandatory ultrasounds, height requirements for abortion clinics including 10-foot wide hallways and 14-feet high ceilings. Facilities that don’t meet these requirements get shut down. Yet, they say ‘we want to keep women safe’. Thats a big crock of shit,” Norman said.

Norman has worked for the controversial health care center for over thirty years, currently presiding as the Capital Campaign Manager of the Milwaukee care center. Over the past three years, Norman and her colleagues have been working to raise $22 million for a new, comprehensive care center in the city. The care center is currently being built and will provide family programming, an abortion surgical center, and education programming, according to Norman.

Yet, Wisconsin Planned Parenthood has been fighting against their own state senator, Scott Walker, who has been the author of two legislations that would create greater difficulties for women seeking abortions.

Norman said she met with Senator Walker to discuss his plans and issues with Planned Parenthood. She said his main issue with Planned Parenthood was the lack of separation between their family planning and abortions.

“We met at a local coffee shop and I showed him that we were following the law. We keep the books separate. He chose not to believe it, turned around and continued to push these laws,” said Norman.

Senator Walker’s lack of understanding is what Norman believes is one of the biggest issues facing Planned Parenthood, and is the leading motivation for the care center’s “Story Campaign.”

Norman believes the Wisconsin care centers are safe, for now. Beyond the campaign, Norman says that one of the biggest concerns for Planned Parenthood is millenials.

“They are apathetic. People my age have been involved in the movement because we knew what it was like before Roe V. Wade. But college students take it for granted,” Norman said. “I understand it’s hard with life and college, but if you can, find a way to get involved.”

One Boston University student, Erin McCarthy, has followed Norman’s advice. The College of Fine Arts senior started the “Patch Project” as a way to support Planned Parenthood after threats of defunding.

 

 Erin McCarthy's design project in support of Planned Parenthood

Erin McCarthy's design project in support of Planned Parenthood

Through a Kickstarter campaign, McCarthy designed and sold heart-shaped patches with the words “Pussy Grabs Back.” During the month-long campaign, McCarthy made $349, almost $100 over her pledged goal, through the help of 33 backers.

Due to the success of the project, McCarthy is restarting the Kickstarter in a couple weeks with plans of potentially creating more fundraisers to donate to more causes she is in support for. See the link below to learn more about her project.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1528972311/patch-project

If you are interested in ways to help Planned Parenthood, visit their website or your local healthcare center.  

 

Off The Cuff Magazine