SBD/June 16, 2017/Franchises

WNBA Storm The First Pro Team To Publicly Support Planned Parenthood With Fundraiser

A decision to support Planned Parenthood was made by the Storm's ownership group
The WNBA Storm are organizing a "Stand with Planned Parenthood" rally at KeyArena's West Plaza before their July 18 game, a "first-of-its-kind partnership" with Planned Parenthood, according to Percy Allen of the SEATTLE TIMES. For every ticket purchased, the Storm will "donate $5 to Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands (PPGNHI)." The team will "also organize fundraising events, including an online auction to support the chapter." PPGNHI CEO Christine Charbonneau said that Planned Parenthood has "never received public support" from a pro sports team (SEATTLE TIMES, 6/16).

UNCHARTED WATERS: In N.Y., Howard Megdal notes the Storm are "wading into the current political climate in a way that contrasts with the practices of many other sports teams." Storm co-Owner Dawn Trudeau said that she had been "frustrated by her inability to 'make a meaningful impact on the national health care debate.'" Trudeau, regarding discussions she had with her partners, said, "Throughout this year we've had conversations about what was going on in the country, and what we might as individuals might do about it." Trudeau said that when one of the partners went to a Planned Parenthood event, a "light bulb went off there, that this was an organization we should do something with." Megdal notes Planned Parenthood has "long been a target of Republicans and conservatives, who have sought to defund the organization." Trudeau said that the Storm had "not conducted any market research before joining forces with Planned Parenthood." Trudeau: "We just made the decision as an ownership group. We were pretty confident that our fans would respond in a positive way, because we know the kind of people that we have coming to the arena" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/16). Human Life of Washington Exec Dir Esther Hurni-Ripplinger in a written statement said, "If Seattle Storm wants to give to the number one abortion provider in the country they are free to give. I am concerned for fans who want to attend but who may be opposed to this cause. Are they welcome? How are they going to opt out or are they being forced?" (KIRO7.com, 6/15).
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