Monday, protesters rallied together in downtown Anchorage in fear of losing what they call a vital service in our state.

About 200 Planned Parenthood supporters marched from the Delany Park Strip to the offices of our two U.S. senators, Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan. Protesters said they are worried that the lawmakers will defund the organization.

Jessica Cler, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of Alaska, says it serves 7,700 Alaskans — not just for abortions, but for critical preventive care. Additionally, she says 75 percent of its health care work is in underserved areas.

Protesters said they worry that if Planned Parenthood goes away, thousands of Alaskans would have nowhere to go for things like cancer screenings, annual exams and prenatal care.

“My youngest daughter was born as a result of my interaction with Planned Parenthood,” said Sharon Lisenbee, one of the protesters. “I went when I was ready to have another child and I highly recommend them.”

Senator Sullivan’s office said, for him, defunding Planned Parenthood isn’t about taking away health care options for women, contrary to what others have said.

“Senator Sullivan supports redistributing the millions of dollars in federal funding that goes to Planned Parenthood each year – including the three Planned Parenthood clinics in Alaska – to community healthcare centers across the country, which includes more than 160 throughout Alaska,” Sullivan’s spokesman Mike Anderson said in an email following the protest. “Senator Sullivan believes we can provide quality healthcare to women without losing our humanity.”

Murkowski was not immediately available to comment on the protest or her thoughts on funding for Planned Parenthood.

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