Thousands of Planned Parenthood supporters in pink, holding pink signs, confirmed Feb. 11 that pro-life advocates don’t have an easy road ahead despite recent wins for the pro-life movement.
In a rally calling for federal defunding held at Planned Parenthood at its Vandalia Street location in St. Paul, abortion supporters vastly outnumbered pro-life advocates. The St. Paul police department provided an estimate of 5,000 abortion supporters and 550 pro-life advocates.
Pro-Life Action Ministries Executive Director Brian Gibson sees several reasons for the discrepancy. PLAM organized the Defund Planned Parenthood rally, and Gibson notified volunteers via e-mail in advance about his concerns regarding the pro-choice side’s use of vulgarity in rallying, which he thinks discouraged families from young children from attending.
“That’s our base” Gibson said of families with young children. “We could have had 1,500 people out there if I hadn’t sent that e-mail out, but I don’t feel good about letting families not understand the reality or the dynamics there, so I had to.”
Gibson confirmed that the pro-abortion side did have “people who were vulgar and obscene” in their conduct Feb. 11. He said Planned Parenthood’s numbers got a boost “because they feel a very real threat to their federal tax funding.” He added that the Jan. 21 Women’s March in St. Paul helped with numbers for the Feb. 11 rally, too.
On the pro-life side, he said the “post-election lag” lessened their numbers. President Donald Trump describes himself as pro-life and last month reinstated “the Mexico City Policy,” which bans tax dollars from funding groups that promote or perform abortion in other countries. Vice President Mike Pence also became the highest-ranking U.S. official to speak at the National March for Life in person when he addressed the crowd Jan. 27.
“There’s a little bit of cruise control that people set themselves on afterwards,” Gibson said. “And that makes it a little bit difficult to get the three or four or five thousand out that we’ve had in the past.”
PLAM organized its rally as part of a national movement to encourage lawmakers to end federal funding for Planned Parenthood, which performs the most abortions in the U.S. Overall, 228 rallies in 45 states took place to support the cause Feb. 11 according to the #ProtestPP coalition website. Many pro-life organizations, including Pro-Life Action Ministries, co-sponsor #ProtestPP.
Planned Parenthood receives federal government funding annually and reported it received $553.7 million dollars from the government in its 2015 annual report.
“Of course, that’s only a portion of their tax funding in Minnesota, [but] it’s a substantial amount of money,” Gibson said.
Gibson also noted that Planned Parenthood will continue performing abortions with or without federal funding.
“This is a longer term battle that we’re dealing with,” Gibson said.
Gibson said future prayer vigils that PLAM holds at Planned Parenthood, such as the Good Friday vigil, are not expected to have the vulgarity issue he anticipated for the Feb. 11 rally because of the recent rally’s directly political nature.
“The focus is … almost entirely on the religious and spiritual side of what we’re dealing with in this battle,” Gibson said of the prayer vigils.
Category: Local News