Pro-lifers Rachel Bollinger, Gloria Bollinger, Cathy Bein, Carrie and Jeanne Wonio protest Planned Parenthood’s “Letter Writing” event in Rock Island
Planned Parenthood, the nation’s number one abortion provider, has been having a series of “Community Forums” across Illinois to promote Illionis HB2354, the Reproductive Health and Access Act (RHAA).
This bill is essentially the Illinois version of the so-called Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA). Earlier in February, the League was able to scuttle one of these meetings in Aurora.
Around that same time, the League received word that Planned Parenthood would be hosting two events in Rock Island, Illinois taking place February 15 and 25.
This time they were hosting “Letter Writing” events, where apparently Planned Parenthood supporters would write their elected officials urging them to support the RHAA. The events were to be held at Theo’s Java Club, a local coffee shop.
Pro-Lifers Rally on Short Notice
League staffer Corrina Gura immediately sounded the alarm to all of her pro-life contacts in the Quad Cities. Despite having only a few days notice—and bad weather—they mobilized a group to stand in front of the coffee house handing out flyers explaining why the RHAA is such a horrible bill.
Jeanne Wonio, coordinator of the Bettendorf 40 Days for Life vigil and a devoted sidewalk counselor, contacted the owner of the coffee shop, urging him to not allow his business to be the site of this event. Unfortunately Theo, despite his Catholic roots, would not tell Planned Parenthood to host their event elsewhere.
But Planned Parenthood didn’t even show up that night. So there were no letters written in support of the RHAA. Instead, Lorrie Bowman, president of Quad City Right to Life, wrote a letter to the editor against the RHAA, which was published in the local paper the day before Planned Parenthood’s second event was scheduled.
In fact, Cathy Bein of Quad City Right to Life called the League on the afternoon of the 24th. Democratic Representative Pat Verschoore, one of the sponsors of the RHAA, had called their office to complain. His office had gotten a number of phone calls from people angry at his sponsorship of this awful piece of legislation.
No Students for Second Meeting
Jackie Ruf and Rachel Bollinger after the Ash Wednesday protest
Despite their no-show the first time, the League found out that Planned Parenthood was still planning to host the second event on Wednesday, February 25—Ash Wednesday. Corrina drove out to the Quad Cities to lend a hand to the efforts and to bring some of the League’s signs to the protest—”Planned Parenthood LIES to You,” “Planned Parenthood Kills Babies,” and “Stop Abortion Now.”
Six pro-lifers gathered in front of Theo’s Java Club—one woman even missed Ash Wednesday Mass on for the first time in her life in order to protest Planned Parenthood’s meeting. As usual, the pro-lifers outnumbered the pro-aborts, even though the pro-lifers had to stand outside in the cold.
A group of three Planned Parenthood staffers arrived around 5:30. One woman joined them later in the evening, but no students showed up, and their group chatted with very few people in the coffee shop.
In contrast, the pro-lifers outside passed out a number of flyers and spoke to the majority of the coffee shop’s patrons as they were entering or exiting. They even had a chance to have a very lengthy discussion with several Augustana students on a variety of life issues.
The event was a success. Planned Parenthood was once again thwarted in their attempt to influence Illinois communities into support of the pernicious RHAA. Thanks to Quad City Right to Life for their help with this event, for those who called Representative Boland in outrage at this bill, and to the faithful pro-lifers who showed up to protest.