Washington D.C., - More than 10,000
pro-life advocates gathered at some 227
protest locations in 43 states and the
District of Columbia on Saturday to call for
the defunding of Planned Parenthood.
“This weekend was huge, but it was not
the end,” said Mark Harrington of the
pro-life group Created Equal. “We have
momentum on our side. Now is the time to
“The time has come to defund America’s
abortion giant,” Harrington told CNA Feb.
14. “Planned Parenthood is the nation’s
largest abortion chain, killing over 300,000
babies each year, and nearly half of their
billion-dollar budget comes from our tax
The protests, organized under hashtags
like #ProtestPP, were headed by the leaders
of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, Created
Equal and the Pro-Life Action League.
Organizers reported a crowd of about 200
supporters in Pittsburgh, 300 in Orange,
Calif., 400 in Cincinnati, and 450 in St.
Paul, Minn., to name a few.
“Abortion, to me, is the greatest evil of
our time,” Delia Tyagi, a 36-year-old
demonstrator from Arlington, Va. told
Reuters. “Planned Parenthood has wronged
women in a lot of ways. I feel like we have
the momentum to finally defund them.”
Harrington characterized Planned
Parenthood as “an independently wealthy
“Planned Parenthood’s business model is
centered on abortion,” he said. “Women have
other options for seeking primary care,
contraception, STI testing, and cancer
Planned Parenthood is the largest
abortion provider in the U.S. While direct
federal taxpayer funding for abortion is
generally barred under law, it receives
federal funding in Medicaid reimbursements
and Title X programs for family planning and
preventive health services.
The politically powerful organization
took a heavy hit in 2015 with the release of
investigative videos appearing to show it
engaged in the illegal sale of fetal tissue
and unborn baby parts for research. Despite
a well-funded publicity campaign to counter
the allegations, the issue has not gone
In January 2017, a report from the House
Select Investigative Panel said that abuses
and possible criminal violations are taking
place in the fetal tissue trade between
abortion clinics and tissue harvesters.
David Daleiden, founder of the Center for
Medical Progress, had organized the
undercover investigation. He addressed the
Orange, Calif. rally.
“I’m confident that together, if we keep
the faith, take the next right step, at the
end of the day we will soon see a day when
there will no longer be a price tag put on
human life,” he said, according to Reuters.
Demonstrations of support for Planned
Parenthood also took place the same weekend,
sometimes at the same locations as the
Planned Parenthood supporters sometimes
outnumbered the pro-life demonstrators. Its
leaders told Reuters that their supporters
have been energized by the election of
President Donald Trump, citing the hundreds
of thousands of marchers who demonstrated in
Washington and across the country the day
after the inauguration in support of women’s
rights and legal abortion.
Abortion backers have also run
significant fundraising campaigns following
the Trump election. As of late December,
Planned Parenthood told the U.K. newspaper
The Guardian that it had received over
300,000 donations since the election, 40
times its normal donation figures.
For their part, hundreds of thousands of
pro-life advocates had attended the March
for Life in Washington on Jan. 27, which
included an unprecedented address from Vice
President Mike Pence.
Advocates of defunding Planned Parenthood
said legislators had better funding options.
Harrington cited a Chiaroscuro Foundation
report saying that over 1,000 federally
qualified health centers in the U.S. offer
similar services for women without providing
abortion. He suggested these should be
“Defunding Planned Parenthood is the
right thing to do,” Harrington said. “Now
it’s down to Congress and President Trump to
fulfill their promise to defund Planned
Parenthood, and do it now.”
He said the protests shouldn’t be seen as
“a one-time effort” but “a daily commitment
to defeat Planned Parenthood once and for