Nearly 500 turn out for peaceful rally against Planned Parenthood
By John Stegeman
The Catholic Telegraph
In 65 cities across the nation Tuesday, people gathered by the thousands to stand against the practices of Planned Parenthood, a national organization that provides abortion as well as other services.
In Cincinnati, nearly 500 supporters of life assembled on the sidewalks in front of and across the street from the Planned Parenthood facility on Auburn Avenue for a noon rally despite blazing heat and limited parking. A counter rally held on Planned Parenthood property drew roughly 65 people.
The rally, titled “Women Betrayed,” was a project of Students for Life America and Pro-life Future. The Women Betrayed website also encouraged supporters to write or call their congressional representatives. On Twitter the hashtag #WomenBetrayed was used to consolidate discussion on the issue across the country.
Locally, Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati helped organize the event which was emceed by Anna Mitchell, producer and co-host of the SonRise Morning Show on Sacred Heart Radio.
“Women have been betrayed by Planned Parenthood,” read a statement on the Women Betrayed website. “Families have been deceived. And the smallest among us have been the ultimate victims of Planned Parenthood’s horrific business schemes. Quite frankly, we’ve had enough.”
More than a half-dozen priests in clerical blacks and collars joined the multitude. Father Rob Muhlenkamp, parochial vicar of St. Jude in Bridgetown, felt it was important to be present for what is a “spiritual battle.”
“There’s just so much hurt,” Father Muhlenkamp said. “Lies have consequences and there are many lies that undergird abortion and there are many lies around it. People get hurt and the wounds are deep. We need to heal, but at the same time there are things we can do so that abortion is less common and less people are hurt.”
The heat didn’t dim the mood of the pro-life crowd which one supporter said, “had the feel of a movement with momentum.” An unknown patron donated several cases of bottled water for the crowd as temperatures soared above 90 degrees.
Though the event was not a prayer rally, several people spent the duration kneeling or silently praying the rosary, or other prayers.
Others, like blogger and pro-life advocate Joey Garrity, were Catholic but were there to support the cause and swing open the doors of the pro-life movement to allies of all stripes.
“While I am Catholic, that’s not where my pro-life view came from,” Garrity said, adding that a video of abortion years ago is what made him pro-life. “For the sake of the pro-life movement, we must accept all pro-lifers whether they be gay, straight, pansexual, whatever. We need everyone in this fight if we really want to end and abolish abortion once and for all.”
The rallies across the nation were organized in response to several recent videos released by the Center for Medical Progress purporting to show Planned Parenthood officials coldly discussing the sale of body parts from aborted children.
A statement on Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio’s website denied being involved in similar practices. Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio has long provided abortion services and recently faced shutdown after failing to get a transfer agreement with a local hospital until the state stepped in and granted the facility a variance.
“Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region does not participate in any fetal tissue donation programs,” the statement read. “Donation or selling of fetal tissue is not allowed under Ohio law.”
With nearly 500 pro-life supporters outnumbering the supporters of Planned Parenthood, Father Muhlenkamp said there is great hope for the future.
“One of the thoughts that crossed my mind is with the promotion of abortion and contraception, you don’t have children,” he said. “With trying to create loving families, even with our sinful weaknesses and shortcomings, and trying to create healthy, holy families there’s lots of children. So 10 years, 20 years down the road, it is kind of easy to see where its going to go.”
The official list of participating organizations included: Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati, Pregnancy Center East, 40 Days for Life – Cincinnati, Greater Cincinnati Young Adults for Life, Cincinnati Pro-Life Committee, NKU Northern Right to Life, NKU Catholic Newman Center, Miami University Hamilton Students for Life, St. Agnes Right to Life, Diocese of Covington, Dayton Right to Life, Elizabeth’s New Life Center and the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. Based on the signs people carried, a group called Feminists for Life was also present.
Speakers included Paula Westwood of Cincinnati Right to Life, Ohio State Representative Tom Brinkman, 40 Days for Life’s Mary Clark, as well as representatives from Greater Cincinnati Young Adults for Life, Pregnancy Center East, Dayton Right to Life, Miami University Hamilton Students for Life, attorney Tom Condit and Jesuit Father Cyril Whitaker.
Posted July 29, 2015