#ProtestPP event in Aurora, Illinois [Photo by Sam Scheidler]
After the hugely successful National Day of Protest against Planned Parenthood held on August 22, one of the most common questions participants asked was, “When are we going to do this again?”
So many of those who attended—and, in some cases, even led—one of the hundreds of protests held that day had never before taken part in pro-life activism, and with all the interest in the scandal surrounding Planned Parenthood and its sale of aborted babies’ body parts, we knew there was no way that this highly successful protest effort would be a one-off.
After consulting with our friends at Created Equal and Citizens for a Pro-Life Society—who, along with the Pro-Life Action League, serve as co-sponsors of #ProtestPP—we settled on Saturday, October 10 as the date for the second National Day of Protest against Planned Parenthood, and on this day, once again, tens of thousands of pro-lifers came out to their local Planned Parenthood facility to take a stand against the nation’s largest abortion chain.
In some cases—such as Trenton, New Jersey—Saturday marked the first time in years that a pro-life protest had been held outside a Planned Parenthood center.
Wide Variety of Events Held in All 50 States
One of the highlights of this second round of #ProtestPP is that this time around, protests were held in all fifty states (not to mention three locations outside the U.S. as well: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; Birmingham, England; and Dublin, Ireland).
#ProtestPP event in Wilmington, North Carolina
It was also encouraging to see a great variety of events: everything from pickets and rallies to silent prayer vigils and full-blown “Face the Truth Tours” such as the one the Pro-Life Action League held outside the massive Planned Parenthood facility in Aurora, Illinois. Speakers at local rallies included David Daleiden of the Center for Medical Progress, Lila Rose of Live Action, Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life, Chris Slattery of Expectant Mother Care, and Wendy Wright of C-Fam.
Without a doubt, these nationally coordinated protests have gotten Planned Parenthood’s attention. In Nashville, Tennessee, Planned Parenthood prepared for the presence of a protest outside their facility by hiring five (5) armed security guards. But far from being intimidated, the 200 pro-lifers who came out were encouraged, and many of them are now looking to up their commitment by becoming sidewalk counselors!
The Planned Parenthood in New Rochelle, New York took a different tack: Although the facility is normally open on Saturday mornings, it was closed on October 10. Perhaps the prospect of encountering pro-life protesters was simply too much to bear.
Also of interest is what transpired in Glendale, Arizona. There, local pro-lifers opted to have a prayer vigil on Sunday, October 11, and encouraged pro-lifers to come for an hour between 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Unlike many abortion clinics, the Glendale Planned Parenthood is actually open on Sundays, and Sunday is reported its biggest abortion day—but not this time. No abortions were done at the Glendale Planned Parenthood this past Sunday, and, what’s more, Planned Parenthood of Arizona CEO Bryan Howard himself was on-site the entire time.
Protests Raise Awareness
#ProtestPP event in Honolulu, Hawaii
One of the most important—yet often overlooked—purposes served by any demonstration outside a Planned Parenthood facility is to simply raise awareness that the facility is there in the first place. Very often, a Planned Parenthood location may be “hiding in plain sight,” and many local residents might not even know about its presence.
Case in point: Virginia, Minnesota, population 8,700. In this small town in northern Minnesota’s Iron Range, the Planned Parenthood “health center” doesn’t even have a sign in front of their building, so most local residents likely have no idea that the nation’s largest abortion chain has a facility in their town. But a group of local pro-lifers held a protest there on Saturday, and their witness—and their signs—helped bring much needed awareness of its existence.
Babies’ Lives Saved
The most edifying reports from local #ProtestPP leaders across the country were those who told of babies’ lives being saved.
#ProtestPP event in Smithtown, New York
In Smithtown, New York, a young couple came to Planned Parenthood with the intention of having an abortion, but after they saw the sonogram results, they discovered that there was not just one baby, but two! They could not go through with abortion, so they left and told the crowd that they had decided to choose life for their twins. Everyone—the couple, and all the assembled pro-lifers—cried tears of joy together.
A baby was also saved from abortion in Riverside, California, and in Hackensack, New Jersey, a couple was escorted to a local pregnancy resource center for help.
Outstanding Local Media Coverage
From our previous experience with the Stand Up for Religious Freedom rallies in 2012 and the National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children held each year since 2013, we know that local media will often cover an event like #ProtestPP when the major national media won’t. True to form, we were very pleased to see hundreds of media stories on this weekend’s protest, including scores of stories on local TV news stations that reached millions.
Taken together, the #ProtestPP events held on August 22 and October 10 brought out nearly 100,000 pro-lifers to nearly 400 locations, making it the largest national pro-life protest in history. Clearly, there is a strong need to keep #ProtestPP going on a national level, and going forward, all are agreed that it’s critical that an ongoing pro-life presence be maintained at Planned Parenthood’s abortion facilities.