An effective way to oppose Planned Parenthood and expose the truth about this organization is to stage a protest whenever Planned Parenthood holds a fundraiser or other type of event in your community. Similar events would include a community forum on “reproductive health” or the screening of a pro-choice movie.
Not only do we have a duty to confront Planned Parenthood and their supporters with the reality of what they’re doing, but protests like this provide an ideal opportunity to educate the public about their true agenda.
Finding Planned Parenthood events
Your first step for protesting a Planned Parenthood fundraiser is to find out when such an event will next be held in your area. Planned Parenthood is divided into 59 separate regional affiliates, and you’ll want to keep eye on regional affiliate’s website, emails and social media. Visit the main Planned Parenthood site to get started with this.
Most Planned Parenthood affiliates will hold one or two fundraisers each year, usually around the same time. So once you’ve learned about one of these, you can expect it to be held annually and mark your calendar for future protests.
First ask the venue to cancel
Once you’ve learned about a nearby Planned Parenthood fundraiser, you may wish to contact the venue to encourage them to cancel the event. The best way to do this is with a personal letter, rather than an email or phone call, though you may wish to call or email to follow up if you receive no response.
In your letter, be sure to adopt a civil, respectful tone. The owner or manager may not be aware that Planned Parenthood is the nation’s largest abortion provider, so start by explaining why you object to the organization (find information to share about Planned Parenthood here). Encourage them to cancel the event, and make it clear that you will have no choice but to stage a protest it if proceeds.
If you are unable to get the Planned Parenthood even canceled, it’s time to put together your protest plans.
Work out your protest plans
Where to protest? Your first step is to find out where you can protest at the event location. The best way to do this is to visit the site yourself and check out the public sidewalks and any parkway between the sidewalk and the street. You can also use Google maps Street View feature to check out the scene.
Think about where you’ll want to post your signs, depending on how large a turnout you get. Consider visibility for passing cars, guests being dropped off, and foot traffic. Finally, figure out where your volunteers can park their cars.
When to protest? We recommend arriving 1/2 hour before the Planned Parenthood event is set to begin. That way, you’re already set up when guests begin to arrive. Stay during the period that they’re arriving.
We find that we often have to “play it by ear” as to when to conclude a protest like this. Sometimes all of Planned Parenthood’s guests have arrived within an hour, and we wrap it up. Other times we have to wait longer, but we never hold a protest like this for more than 2 hours. Anything longer than 90 minutes begins to tax your volunteers. In fact, when publicizing an protest like this, we often share only the start time
Make or buy protest signs
They key to any effective protest is good signage. That’s why the Pro-Life Action League has put together a special “protest pack” of signs especially for protesting Planned Parenthood. You can find the protest pack right here. A protest like this is also an ideal occasion for displaying large abortion victims photos.
In addition to “generic” pro-life, abortion and Planned Parenthood signs, you could make signs especially for this protest, perhaps drawing on the theme of the event or one of the special guests. The Pro-Life Action League often uses signs reading “Abortion is nothing to celebrate” at fundraiser protests.
When U.S. Senator Dick Durbin spoke at a Planned Parenthood fundraiser in our headquarters city of Chicago, the League made signs reading “Return to your pro-life roots, Senator Durbin!” When Planned Parenthood CEO spoke at another Chicago fundraiser, we made signs reading, “AHEAD: President of Abortion Incorported”—a sign that worked for cars approaching the venue, that had already seen earlier signs about Planned Parenthood.
Promote your event and alert the media
For a successful protest, you need to get the word out to the local pro-life community. See the Pro-Life Basic Training unit “Increase turnout by using good promotional tools” for information on promoting your protest through email, social media, church bulletins and other avenues.
You can dramatically increase the impact of your protest if it gets covered by the local media. While this can be very challenging in large media market’s like the League’s headquarters city of Chicago, often media outlets in smaller markets will jump at the chance to cover something like this. For more on this, see the Pro-Life Basic Training unit “Earning media coverage of your pro-life efforts.”
Be prepared to work with police during your protest
You’re likely to be visited by local law enforcement during your protest, especially if the Planned Parenthood event is being held at an entertainment venue like a theater or restaurant. The management or patrons are likely to complain to police.
This is nothing to worry about. See the Pro-Life Basic Training unit “Working with police at your pro-life event” for helpful advice, including whether or not to inform the police about your protest plans in advance. This unit also addresses how to work with private security guards, whom you may also encounter during your protest.
Take photos and video of your protest, and share them
It is important to take photos and video of your pro-life event and share an account of what took place with the wider pro-life community. This can help you reach a broader audience with your message about Planned Parenthood, and may also inspire others to get involved and take action, too.
In addition, the story of your protest will become part of the larger story of pro-life activism in the United States. We pro-lifers own the grass roots on the abortion issue, and we should take every opportunity to demonstrate this to our opposition.