MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A temporary metal fence divided two sets of protesters Friday in front of the Planned Parenthood clinic on Ford Parkway in Highland Park.
On one side of the fence, pro-life supporters sang hymns and held crosses while, on the other side, Planned Parenthood supporters marched, cheered and held signs.
“We’ve been doing our Good Friday prayer vigil for about 28 years now,” said, Pro-life Action Ministries Executive Director Brian Gibson.
NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Edgar Linares Reports
“We have our supporters out today,” said Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Kathi Dinicola. “We’re trying to make the most of a day that’s kind of tough on our patients with more than 1,000 folks standing outside our doors.”
The vigil also drew a number of church leaders including the Archbishop of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Archdiocese , John Nienstedt. He opened Friday’s protest with a prayer.
“We do not come here to judge the young woman who has discovered she is pregnant with a child that is unwanted by her boyfriend or her parents, and finds herself pressured to take the easy way out,” said Nienstedt. “But we do come here to judge the unconscionable greed behind the doctors, nurses and supporters of Planned Parenthood who for 30 pieces of silver offer a quick fix to such women, rather than help them find a real solution to their problems.”
Last September Nienstedt fell under controversy after issuing DVD’s opposing same-sex marriage to parishioners.
Gibson says the vigil’s main focus is prayer and reflection.
“Our people are here very much focused on this being Good Friday. And they’re focused very much on prayer,” Gibson said. “We don’t even bring signs, we bring a cross and that’s it.”
The protest will last until 4 p.m., and St. Paul police are on the scene to make sure the protest remains peaceful. Protest organizers expect 2,000 people throughout the day. Planned Parenthood has dozens of staff members wearing vests that say “escort” to help patients into clinic.
“We talk to them beforehand to let them know what’s going on here so there are no surprises for them,” Dinicola said. “So our patients are as comfortable as they can be.”
Gibson said this would be their last year protesting at the Highland Park Planned Parenthood . The clinic is scheduled to close permanently later this year and move to a new headquarters in St. Paul.
“This is a day of solemn prayer for Christians throughout the world so we’re here as a day of solemn prayer,” Gibson said.