Anti-abortion protests spur dueling rallies locally, nationwide

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WEST MICHIGAN — At least two of 200 planned protests against federal funding for Planned Parenthood took place Saturday in West Michigan.

'Grand Rapids Right to Life' sponsored a rally outside the Planned Parenthood at 425 Cherry Street SE in Grand Rapids from 9-11 a.m. Saturday.

Hundreds of people with ProKzoo rallied in support of the Planned Parenthood: Kalamazoo Health Center on 4201 W. Michigan Avenue in Kalamazoo. ProKzoo organizer Jennifer Strebs says more than a 1000 people showed up.

The events were just two of the 200 rallies coordinated by anti-abortion and pro-choice activists nationwide by #ProtestPP Coalition on Saturday calling for the federal government to cut off payments to Planned Parenthood, but in some cities counter-protests dwarfed the demonstrations.

Thousands of Planned Parenthood supporters, many wearing the pointy-eared pink hats popularized by last month's women's marches, turned out for a rally in St. Paul, Minnesota, separated by barricades from an anti-abortion crowd of a couple hundred people.

In Detroit, about 300 people turned up outside a Planned Parenthood office, most of them supporting the organization. In St. Louis, about 150 abortion opponents slightly outnumbered a group carrying pink signs that read, "I stand with Planned Parenthood."

The groups said the rallies called for Planned Parenthood to be stripped of all federal funding and to redirect that funding to other federally qualified health centers that do not perform abortions.

"They do a lot of work to help women with reproductive health — not just abortions, obviously — but they help with birth control and cancer screenings and counseling and a whole variety of services, and it seems they're under attack right now, and that concerns me greatly," said Kathy Brown, 58, a supporter of the organization who attended the St. Paul rally.

Andy LaBine, 44, of Ramsey, Minnesota, rallied with abortion opponents in St. Paul. LaBine, who was there with his family, said he believes Planned Parenthood is hiding "under a veil of health care."

"I personally believe that abortion is a profound injustice to the human race," LaBine said.

In one of his first acts as president, Trump last month banned U.S. funding to international groups that perform abortions or even provide information about abortions. Vice President Mike Pence strongly opposes abortion, citing his Catholic beliefs, and the newly confirmed health secretary, Tom Price, has supported cutting off taxpayer money to Planned Parenthood.

Federal dollars don't pay for abortions, but the organization is reimbursed by Medicaid for other services, including birth control and cancer screening. Anti-abortion conservatives have long tried to cut Planned Parenthood funds, arguing that the reimbursements help subsidize abortions. Planned Parenthood says it performed 324,000 abortions in 2014, the most recent year tallied, but the vast majority of women seek out contraception, testing and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, or other services including cancer screenings.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says defunding plans would cut roughly $400 million in Medicaid money from the group in the year after enactment and would result in roughly 400,000 women losing access to care. Republicans would redirect the funding to community health centers, but Planned Parenthood supporters say women denied Medicaid services from Planned Parenthood may not be able to find replacement care.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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15 comments

    • steve

      So do I. But, I’m afraid that the civility of the anti-abortion people Is outweighed by the rabid behavior of the typical pro-abortion mob as well as the liberal media, and the resulting crowds will be much smaller.

    • Truth hurts

      @little Mary, You are a disgrace to ALL women! [Thats if you are a woman]
      You’re probably some shriveled up ugly puss all hunched over your device typing away just wishing you had even a chance to need these services because nobody would want to touch your ignorant self, Why don’t you go puny up in a corner and shut OLD your pie hole..FOREVER.

      • George

        Except your truth isn’t.
        Look up ” margaret sanger” and read WHY she pushed for abortion. it wasn’t for “health care”, it was to control a minority race.
        So really, what does that make you ?
        And as to how you spoke to Mary, well, I bet everyone knows you, once or twice.

      • P

        Way to go Hillary, you sure told Mary what a intelligent liberal lez you are. Keep it up, it makes it easy to feel sorry for the likes of you baby killers.

  • prospectne

    This will, unfortunately, not get the attention a Protest/Riot that angry militant lesbian feminists stir up. The liberal media loves the violent rallies with angry feminists, blue hair,ed, bare breasted, dressed as vaginas screaming vulgarities for equal rights. .

  • Chris

    Only two percent of pph funding goes to abortions. This is about attacking the cheap pill source for white suburban girls. Fear of white people being the minority

    • steve

      The figure that you’re seeing is the 2% of the funds from private donations that they are legally obligated to make public. The use of money they get from the federal government isn’t subject to public disclosure, and the percentage of that money that is spent on abortions is staggering.

  • Tim

    News edit: The people of the Grand Rapids counter protest in favor of supporting Planned Parenthood vastly out numbered, what appeared to be a radical religious driven crowed in favor of cutting funding. A diverse crowd of all ages, genders and race gathered to stand up against those who were in favor of cutting the funding to the health care of their choosing. It was a profound act of democracy and it appears the majority of the population in the Grand Rapids city limit strongly supports Planned Parenthood.

    • steve

      Tim, the question is not whether the people support the activities of Planned Parenthood. It’s whether or not they want their tax dollars spent on those activities, of which abortion is by far the largest percentage. Get it?

      • Tim

        Steve,. Title X and Medicaid are the two government programs that fund Planned Parenthood. Title X does not allow federal funds to be used for abortions (it is the law)and Medicaid does allow for funds to be used in very strict cases. Planned Parenthood services include 42% STI/STD treatment/testing, 34% Contraceptives, 11% other woman’s services, 9% cancer screening, 3% abortions, 1% other services. (Abortion is not the largest percentage) It sounds like your issue should be more with the law makers than casting misinformed judgment at a health car provider with intentions aimed at helping people in need of care.

    • Kevin Rahe

      There is no reason for money from the average citizen to go to Planned Parenthood when there are other providers in more locations offering more comprehensive health care that can use it. The counter-protesters necessarily have an agenda other than ensuring the availability of services that treat adverse medical conditions or prevent disease.

  • Laughing Out Loud

    This story is nothing more than a propaganda shot about the “good works” of Democide. What kills me is that tax dollars are supporting it!