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At Anchorage rally, hundreds urge Alaska senators to support Planned Parenthood

Hundreds marched in Anchorage Monday, urging Alaska's U.S. senators to support continued federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

Between 200 and 300 people marched from the Delaney Park Strip to the Peterson Towers, home of the Anchorage offices of Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan. The rally was one of many across the nation during the weeklong congressional recess, and one of three planned in Alaska.

Jessica Cler, Alaska public affairs manager for Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii, said the organization also planned to deliver a petition and constituent stories to the two Alaska senators.

Kati Ward speaks through a megaphone at a rally in support of Planned Parenthood on Monday, Feb. 20, 2017, in downtown Anchorage. (Rugile Kaladyte / Alaska Dispatch News)

The rally comes as efforts to defund Planned Parenthood have gained traction in Washington, D.C. Last week the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass a bill that would make it easier for states to deny federal family-planning funding to groups like Planned Parenthood that also perform abortions.

The bill is currently awaiting action in the Senate.

Like at the women's march held in January, many who attended Monday wore pink hats resembling cat ears and held signs with phrases like "My Body, My Business" and "Don't take away our care."

Many at the rally Monday said they came out to protest the stance of President Donald Trump's administration on Planned Parenthood and other women's health issues, including possible repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

Anti-abortion protests have also been held recently: about 25 people protested outside of the Anchorage Planned Parenthood office earlier this month, and about 300 showed up to a January anti-abortion march in Palmer.

Approximately 200-300 people marched from Delaney Park to Peterson Tower on Monday, Feb. 20, 2017, in downtown Anchorage to show support for Planned Parenthood. (Rugile Kaladyte / Alaska Dispatch News)

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