MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Protests took place across the nation Tuesday to call for state and federal officials to investigate Planned Parenthood and to stop funding the organization.
About 350 protesters stood outside the clinic near University Avenue in St. Paul. Several groups were represented, including the Minnesota Family Council, Students for Life in America and Pro-Life Action Ministries.
The protest was part of an organized effort, with 65 cities participating, in what they called #WomenBetrayed rallies.
Undercover videos were made public in recent weeks which showed Planned Parenthood officials discussing how fetal tissue from aborted fetuses is collected for medical researchers.
With speeches and signs expressing their outrage, the group Students for Life of America called for government funding of Planned Parenthood to end.
“Friends, this is a game-changing moment in our movement,” Students for Life of America’s Angela Erickson said. “It’s time for Congress to defund Planned Parenthood now!”
The health organization provides breast exams and cancer screenings to women, as well as birth control and abortions. But the revelation of fetal tissue donation has been met with outrage.
“It’s barbaric, it’s inhuman. It’s killing babies and now selling baby parts on top of it? Unbelievable,” protester Roberta Smith said. “Women have been deceived for several years, and America needs to wake up.”
Staff members at the Planned Parenthood near University Avenue stepped outside to spread their own message: “Health Care Happens Here.”
“In Minnesota we don’t actually have a fetal tissue donation program for any of the three states this Planned Parenthood serves — Minnesota, North Dakota or South Dakota,” Planned Parenthood’s Jen Aulwes said. “But we stand by our sister affiliates in other states that do have these programs. They’re incredibly important for medical research.”
Undercover video recorded by members of a group called the Center for Medical Progress has sparked a heated effort to end state and federal funding of the organization.
“The reality is that with every single abortion there is a body involved, and that’s what these video are really hitting us with right now,” Pro-Life Action Ministries’ Brian Gibson said.
Planned Parenthood’s national leaders have stated that their clinics do not profit from fetal tissue donation, and that they only charge a nominal fee for procuring it.
They have however apologized for the comments made in some of those recordings that were released.
U.S. Senate Republican leaders also announced Tuesday they are considering a vote on a bill that would prohibit federal funds to Planned Parenthood.
The organization currently receives about $500 million annually in federal funding.