On Saturday, in cities around the nation, concerned Americans gathered to protest the nation’s single largest provider of abortion: Planned Parenthood. Since the current administration has promised to defund Planned Parenthood, they weren’t the only people to show up on the sidewalks. Abortion rights advocates came too. (February 11 is #ProtestPP Day.)
In Portland, news outlets reported that both sides were about equally represented, in terms of numbers. Katie Lodjic, the Northwest regional coordinator for Students for Life of America, reported that, “The pro-lifers present were a good mixture of both young and old, and came from all ethnic backgrounds.” When asked why she opposes Planned Parenthood, Lodjic said, “I went to #ProtestPP yesterday to bring attention to the many reasons that they should be defunded of our hard-earned taxpayer dollars. Planned Parenthood is not in the healthcare business, they are in the abortion business, and should not be receiving federal funds. The federal funding should be reallocated to federally qualified health centers which provide a wide range of healthcare services like prenatal care, mammograms, and preventative care.”
Unfortunately, the abortion rights advocates did not keep things civil. Lodjic reported: “I saw the pro-choice protestors shove and hit pro-lifers with jump ropes. They had offensive signs that said things like ‘Abort everyone,’ ‘Your kid is an a**hole,’ and ‘Just say no to crack babies.’ They yelled obscenities at us and chanted things like, ‘If you’re pregnant let us know, pro-life men have got to go,’ ‘The day I got my abortion was the best f****** day of my life,’ as well as the typical ‘My body, My choice’ chants.”
Cindy Brunk, a post-abortive woman who bravely shares her testimony by holding an “I regret my abortion” sign, and her friend Tamara Cochran Jackson, the executive editor of conservative/Christian news outlet, Barbwire.com, also experienced harassment (NSFW video of some of it here). Jackson reported: “These people approached Cindy and I, we were side-by-side, and began screaming at us within inches of our faces, ‘Bigot go home!’ ‘You’re an f-ing bigot,’ ‘We don’t want you here’ and more. At one point Cindy’s husband came and stood between the two of us and the most belligerent woman. He was concerned it would escalate and we would be pushed in the street.”
Despite the altercations, thanks in part to the help of the Portland Police, the protest went well overall in Portland as well as across the country.