Alpha Phifa raises money for Planned Parenthood

Tasha Hall, Campus Life Reporter

“It doesn’t have to be a big difference, but at least some difference.” 

Junior Clarisse Yee, President of the Beta Phi chapter of Alpha Phi, hit the mark with this statement for the Alpha Phifa soccer tournament and raffle fundraiser held on April 15. The Alpha Phifa tournament takes place every year, with the proceeds going to Alpha Phi’s chosen philanthropy.

After the overturning of Roe V. Wade, the members of Alpha Phi decided that helping Planned Parenthood was the best cause. Having previously raised $3,500 for the local clinic, they had high hopes in light of the current political climate. 

Emily Anderson is the philanthropy specialist for Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho. Anderson attended the tournament to answer questions from participants about STI prevention, healthy relationships, abortion laws and events surrounding abortion access in areas like Idaho. Anderson stressed the importance of Washington being a safe haven for those needing healthcare and abortion services, and she felt pessimistic about the future of abortion laws on a state-by-state basis. 

“I feel like things are going to continue to spiral on a state-by-state basis, and it’s gonna keep getting worse in the banned states. That just puts more pressure on haven states, like Washington, to provide more services and protect more of our patients and staff,” Anderson said. “Because our providers – providers everywhere – are now very nervous because of the laws around abortion services. They just are nervous to provide any healthcare service to women because [those services] could be seen as controversial.” 

Northern Idaho, for example, has been shutting down maternity wards. While these wards are generally used for delivering babies, occasionally they are used for a dilation and curettage (D&C) procedure. This procedure is done when a pregnancy doesn’t go right, such as the fetus dying in the womb. The fetus needs to be removed before the mother becomes infected and sick from the dead tissue. Because D&C is classified as an abortion procedure, it’s now illegal. Maternity care sometimes suffers, or is inaccessible due to these overly-complicated laws. 

“The laws of Idaho, in particular, are so strict that health providers are afraid to provide the services,” Anderson said. “It’s mildly terrifying.” 

The Alpha Phifa fundraiser took place after a new ban was approved in Florida that would deny abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. This timespan and restriction would effectively inhibit any woman from receiving an abortion. This fundraiser was meant to create awareness of such events happening and help teach the impact of those bans. 

Junior Emily Patz is the Director of Philanthropy for Alpha Phi, in charge of planning this soccer tournament and fundraiser. Patz invested about five weeks to reach out to different local businesses, reserve Ankeny Field, talk with food trucks and coordinate with a Planned Parenthood representative – all to network and get people involved with the event. 

Her efforts were successful. Ten teams were made, with seven to ten people on each team: a combination of The Wheezing Wheezers and The Cubs, Gritty FC, Illusionistas, Pit Brothers, BMCS, Tom’s Boys, Alpine, Shadow Wizard Money Gang, Kickma and Dayhab participated. 

Events like these fuel the belief Patz has in the impact of fundraisers. The winners of the tournament were The Wheezing Wheezers and The Cubs, who collected more than 40 raffle tickets. Alpha Phi donated more than $1,000, which will be matched by a local business. 

Often feeling disheartened at the constant news of abortion bills and rollbacks on laws people have tried hard to establish and maintain, Patz enjoys the camaraderie of these events that bring everyone together.  

“I think it’s really powerful to bring everybody together – everybody has those conversations together at a rally. You’re meeting people who have very similar stances as you and you do a lot of networking,” Patz said. “You [can] form a network of people who you know you can reach out to for help with these things.” 

Patz feels frustrated at the manipulation of science rhetoric in the making of these laws and abortion bans. 

“I think that science has a very strong voice in our society and people taking advantage of that, spinning it and trying to use science to back something that’s not true is very frustrating,” Patz said. “It’s very frustrating to sit there, read it and be like, ‘I’m 21 years old, and I know that this is incorrect. You’re saying this to so many people, and it’s just not true.’”

Yee feels the same way. As President, she fully supported Patz in the planning of this tournament because she knew how it would make a difference in the community. Raising awareness and funds for Planned Parenthood clinics is vital to benefit citizens who need their services the most.