After the initial leadership recruitment began for the third annual National Day of Prayer and Protest against Planned Parenthood in mid-March, leaders of the #ProtestPP coalition—consisting of Pro-Life Action League, Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, and Created Equal—were very pleased to see so many individuals accept the invitation to once again lead events in their local communities. We had a hunch that this year’s event was going to be big.
And sure enough, nationwide attendance at the April 28 event exceeded 5,000—significantly surpassing the numbers from last year, proving that #ProtestPP is growing.
News of #ProtestPP Reaches the White House
This year’s National Day of Prayer and Protest against Planned Parenthood was truly a national event, with even Alaska and Hawaii represented. Events held at 150 locations across the country on April 28 served to remind our elected officials that Planned Parenthood does not deserve our tax dollars and to inform our fellow citizens about a new effort to revise Title X family planning rules to block Planned Parenthood as a recipient, which would deprive the nation’s largest abortion chain of some $60-80 million annually. The White House is currently considering such a move, and a source on Capitol Hill reports that news of this past weekend’s rallies reached President Trump himself!
At our own rally in Aurora, Illinois, Pro-Life Action League executive director Eric Scheidler called on pro-lifers to contact President Trump to call on him to keep his campaign promise and take action on this important measure:
Another goal for this year’s event was to educate the American public about Planned Parenthood’s massive 35% share of the U.S. abortion market. To this end, thousands of copies of a new flyer called “Getting to Know Planned Parenthood” were distributed at numerous locations across the country.
As local leaders began submitting reports letting us know how their events turned out, a common theme began to emerge: many of those who took part in #ProtestPP events in their communities did so for the very first time. In Huntington, New York, for example—where some attendees came from as many as 30 minutes away—fully 20% of participants had never previously attended one.
Always encouraging are the reports of great attendance despite less than ideal weather. Bedford Heights, Ohio—population 11,000—witnessed a crowd of 105 pro-lifers who braved cold and rainy conditions to take a stand against the nation’s largest abortion chain. And dozens turned out in Tucson, Arizona despite temperatures that soared to 95°.
#ProtestPP Saves Lives
Indianapolis Right to Life led up a rally for their contribution to the #ProtestPP effort in the Hoosier capital, and their speakers included Monica Kelsey, the driving force behind the campaign to get Safe Haven Baby Boxes installed across the country. Conceived in rape and raised by an adoptive family, Monica is thus a beautiful witness that no child is ever unwanted, despite “pro-choice” rhetoric.
One of the often overlooked yet most valuable aspects of a #ProtestPP event is that it serves to notify anyone passing by that a Planned Parenthood facility is located in their very own community. In Muskegon, Michigan, for example, the town’s Planned Parenthood maintains a low profile within the country health center. But the presence of pro-life protesters this past weekend sent a message that despite its cozy relationship with local government, Planned Parenthood is not a welcome neighbor.
Without question, the most encouraging report came from Columbia, South Carolina, where two babies’ lives were saved while the #ProtestPP event was happening. In one case, a woman revealed to a sidewalk counselor that she was being pressured by her boyfriend to have an abortion and expressed interest in going to a nearby pregnancy resource center. Still, they went into Planned Parenthood. Eventually, though, he left, giving her time to think, and she decided to walk out and choose life for her baby. In the case of the other baby saved from abortion, the baby’s father played a very different role, as he had tried to talk his girlfriend out of an abortion. After the couple went inside Planned Parenthood for a brief time, they came back out, and the man repeatedly said to the pro-lifers, “Thank God, and thank you!”
Local Pro-Life Activists Spring into Action
The local organizer of the #ProtestPP event in Santa Barbara, California hadn’t heard about the National Day of Prayer and Protest against Planned Parenthood until just three days before it was scheduled. Undaunted, however, she launched a promotional blitz, and 45 pro-lifers showed up. The #ProtestPP event in Colorado Springs was also organized on short notice, with several of the attendees having heard about it via promotional emails sent out by #ProtestPP co-sponsors such as Susan B. Anthony List, Live Action, and Students for Life of America.
Likely the most unique #ProtestPP event held on April 28 was that held outside the Planned Parenthood in Livonia, Michigan, which has not been open for business since April 22. Thus, this Saturday’s event was both a protest of the Planned Parenthood franchise as a whole and a celebration of the closing of this particular location.
Numerous local leaders reported that the positive feedback they received from the general public clearly outweighed the negative. In Fairfield, California, one passerby was so edified by the presence of pro-life demonstrators that he got out of his car and handed them a gift card to buy coffee after the event. But, of course, it wouldn’t be a pro-life event without some counter-demonstrators. In both Aurora and Peoria, Illinois, half a dozen turned out in dressed in the iconic red robes of Margaret Atwood’s A Handmaid’s Tale.
Media Coverage of #DefundPP Events
The #ProtestPP events held at 150 locations nationwide on April 28 drew the attention of media outlets across the nation. One of the finest of these accounts was produced by a local news outlet in Worcester, Massachusetts, which you can read here. Here is a sampling of others:
- Fitchburg and Worcester, MA: Protesters in Worcester, Fitchburg call for defunding Planned Parenthood
- Lafayette IN: Nationwide Planned Parenthood Protest Makes Stop in Lafayette
- Medford, OR: Activists Protest to Defund Planned Parenthood
- Morristown, NJ: Groups rally in Morristown, across the U.S., to defund Planned Parenthood
- Pittsburgh PA: Demonstrators Gather on Liberty Avenue to Protest Planned Parenthood
- Reading, PA: Pro-life activists rally at Planned Parenthood office in Reading