After springing into action earlier this year to mobilize 229 rallies nationwide calling for the defunding of Planned Parenthood on February 11, the #ProtestPP coalition decided to try a slightly different approach for the 2nd Annual National Day of Prayer and Protest against Planned Parenthood on April 28-29.
Speaking on behalf of fellow #ProtestPP co-directors Monica Miller (of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society) and Mark Harrington (of Created Equal), Pro-Life Action League director Eric Scheidler put out a video inviting pro-lifers in cities and towns across the nation to hold an event—be it a rally, prayer vigil, procession from a local church, “Jericho March,” or a classic American picket—outside their local Planned Parenthood.
Variety of Events Bring Out First-Timers Nationwide
Local pro-life leaders were very receptive to this new approach, which also allowed them to select which day to hold their event: Friday, April 28 or Saturday, April 29. Within days of putting out the call for leaders, dozens had signed on, and ultimately events were held at 158 locations across the nation.
As local leaders began submitting reports letting us know how their events turned out, a common theme began to emerge: many of those who attended ProtestPP events in their communities did so for the very first time. In Mansfield, Ohio, for example, one-third of those who attended Friday’s protest were first-timers, and in Lexington, Kentucky, the number was fully 40%.
Local leaders across the country also reported generally positive feedback from the public. In Buffalo, New York, those who took part in a prayer vigil were invited by a passerby to bring the pro-life message to his neighborhood, and they gladly accepted. And in Los Angeles, where a 12-hour vigil was held outside Planned Parenthood, several people passing by stopped to join the pro-lifers to pray for a time.
Among the most notable of last weekend’s events was a flash mob carried out by Chicago’s Crusaders for Life youth group, who were invited by the organizers of a rally held outside a Planned Parenthood location in Ann Arbor, Michigan:
Some PP Locations Close in Response to Pro-Life Events
As a testament to the power of public demonstrations, Planned Parenthood went so far as to close its doors in response to scheduled protests in some locations. In Glendale, Arizona, clinic staff were already present at the facility but then left for the day after the crowd of 100 pro-lifers began praying, leaving the parking lot empty. And, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, a protest was scheduled for 3:00 p.m. on the afternoon of Friday, April 28, but a sign on the door indicated that the center would be closed the entire day!
Most local leaders reported few, if any, “pro-choice” counter-demonstrators at their events. One notable exception was in Sarasota, Florida, where a sizable group of Planned Parenthood supporters loudly chanted slogans (“My body, my choice,” etc.) and drowned out the pro-life rally speakers—one of whom was a woman who regretted her abortion and spoke about the help she received from the post-abortion ministry Project Rachel. Nevertheless, she persisted in sharing her powerful story of healing.
The 387 #DefundPP events organized by the #ProtestPP coalition in 2017 are a means to an end: to assist in the effort to get the nation’s largest abortion chain defunded. And with yesterday’s passage of the American Health Care Act in the House of Representatives—which includes language to defund Planned Parenthood—a major step forward has been taken toward achieving this goal, and the #ProtestPP coalition is thrilled to have been a part of that victory!
Media Coverage of #DefundPP Events
The #DefundPP rallies held at 158 locations nationwide on April 28-29 drew the attention of media outlets across the nation. The finest of these accounts was produced by a local news station in Nashville, which you can see here. Here is a sampling of others:
- Ann Arbor, MI: Ann Arbor residents protest Planned Parenthood
- Charlottesville, GA: Abortion critics protest outside Planned Parenthood
- Kalamazoo, MI: Kalamazoo joins nationwide protest against Planned Parenthood
- Lexington, KY: Protesters gather outside Lexington Planned Parenthood
- San Diego, CA: ‘Don’t Have to Pay for Your Choice’: Demonstrators Gather at 2 Anti-Planned Parenthood Protests in San Diego
- San Diego, CA: Demonstrators in San Diego County, nation protest Planned Parenthood federal funding
- Springfield, IL: Pro-life Supporters Protest Planned Parenthood at State Capitol
- Troy, NY: Demonstrators call for defunding of Planned Parenthood
- Tulsa, OK: Protesters and advocates meet outside of Planned Parenthood clinic near downtown Tulsa
- Waco, TX: Pro-Life Waco denounces abortion clinic in Waco
Slideshow of pictures from events around the country
Created with flickr slideshow.