Dawn Trudeau stood on the west side of KeyArena and talked to everyone who would listen.
"It's a really important issue," she says, surrounded by pink-clad t-shirts and signs. "This is something we felt passionate about to support women and girls in the community particularly on health care, and so we decided to take the risk to jump in."
Trudeau, along with her fellow, female Seattle Storm owners, decided the time was right to host "Planned Parenthood Night", a first-of-it's-kind event involving a professional sports franchise. Teams, and players are often shy when discussing social issues, but Trudeau says it is personal. "It's very much a personal issue to me, I got my first birth control at a planned parenthood."
Chris Charbonneau, who runs the organization's Northwest, and Hawaii chapter, says it was all the WNBA team's idea. "This is the first partnership of it's kind in the country," she said, "(The Storm) don't like to get political, what they said we don't consider it political, we think think this is basic for women."
The Storm hosted a pre-game rally, and gave $5 from every ticket sold, the organization, which has been criticized for it's abortion services. Senate Republicans have been discussing how to pull federal funding, but a bill to repeal the ACA, and federal support appears to have died for now.
That didn't stop Beth Daranciang, of Seattle, from protesting the franchise's foray into politics. She stood quietly, holding a pro-life sign, near the pre-game rally and politely discussed her position with anyone who came near. "I'm very disappointed," she said, "They are the largest provider of abortion." She added that she thought the Storm were supporting something "anti-woman and damaging to our society".
Countered Charbonneau, "It's about 3% of what planned parenthood does, we're proud we do it, women don't die anymore."
Trudeau acknowledges there has been some negative feedback, but that the decision was "overwhemingly positive," while adding "We understood we were taking some kind of risk, but women's sports is about community and much as it is about sports. We're already a social movement."
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