Anti-abortion activists, counter protesters rally
Anti-abortion activists emboldened by the new administration of President Donald Trump staged rallies around the country Saturday calling for the federal government to cut off payments to Planned Parenthood, but in some cities counter protests dwarfed the demonstrations.
Thousands of Planned Parenthood supporters, many wearing the pointy-eared pink hats popularized by last month’s women’s marches, turned out for a rally in St. Paul, Minn., separated by barricades from an anti-abortion crowd of a couple hundred people. In Detroit, about 300 people turned up outside a Planned Parenthood office, most of them supporting the organization. In St. Louis, about 150 abortion opponents slightly outnumbered a group carrying pink signs that read, “I stand with Planned Parenthood.”
“They do a lot of work to help women with reproductive health – not just abortions, obviously – but they help with birth control and cancer screenings and counseling and a whole variety of services, and it seems they’re under attack right now, and that concerns me greatly,” said Kathy Brown, 58, a supporter of the organization who attended the St. Paul rally.
Andy LaBine, 44, of Ramsey, Minn., rallied with abortion opponents in St. Paul. LaBine, who was there with his family, said he believes Planned Parenthood is hiding “under a veil of health care.”
“I personally believe that abortion is a profound injustice to the human race,” LaBine said.
Federal dollars don’t pay for abortions, but the organization is reimbursed by Medicaid for other services, including birth control and cancer screening. Anti-abortion conservatives have long tried to cut Planned Parenthood funds, arguing that the reimbursements help subsidize abortions.