Planned Parenthood of Maryland on Sunday announced it will appear in the Hampden community next weekend but not as a HonFest vendor.
The nonprofit instead will set up shop in a Hampden hair salon and plans to hand out materials describing its range of reproductive health care services, one of which is providing abortions.
“We saw firsthand what the community wants over the weekend with the outpouring of support from Marylanders and particularly the Hampden community. It is clear that the community wants PPM to be present on June 10-11, so we will be. We will not be at HonFest,” the statement said.
The festival organizers endured a 24-hour social media tongue-lashing for rejecting the health care provider’s application to the annual event scheduled for June 10-11. Organizers blamed a long-held policy to avoid controversial “hot topic” issues, the HonFest statement said.
The decision sparked anger-fueled responses on Twitter and Facebook and triggered talk of boycotts and protests. Sponsors withdrew and business owners organized fundraisers to support the health care provider.
Absent from Planned Parenthood of Maryland’s statement was an acceptance of HonFest’s apology, which organizers made late Saturday, asking the nonprofit to forgive its “severe shortsightedness.”
HonFest organizer Denise Whiting did not respond to questions Sunday.
Planned Parenthood of Maryland said HonFest’s initial refusal dealt a familiar response to reproductive care similar to those being received by providers nationwide.
“Every day PPM fights against these antiquated views and the impact they have on Maryland. We have seen bans on reproductive health care, trans health and LGBTQ+ rights sweep the United States, and they are allowed to take hold because people allow stigma, shame and victimization to persist.”
Planned Parenthood of Maryland’s statement called the “gag rule” HonFest organizers originally tried to place on its participation “a dangerous precedent.” HonFest denied the nonprofit its own table but invited it to share one with the city health department with restrictions.
“Prohibiting us from mentioning birth control, abortion, gender affirming care and providing any information about family planning stigmatizes our care, and more importantly, the patients for whom we care,” the statement said.
The organization asked the community to support businesses and participating HonFest vendors that spoke out in solidarity, “risking their livelihoods,” and shared a list of those that did so.
The reproductive services provider will be at Flaunt Hair Boutique at 827 W. 36th St. in Baltimore.
“We will stand with Hampden as it has stood with us,” Planned Parenthood of Maryland’s statement said.