2017-02-16 / Front Page

Battleground at Planned Parenthood

Arguments made at local health care clinic
810-452-2645 • tterry@mihomepaper.com

Counterprotestors of all ages stood up for Planned Parenthood near the 69 expressway. 
Photos by Tanya Terry Counterprotestors of all ages stood up for Planned Parenthood near the 69 expressway. Photos by Tanya Terry BURTON — Cars honked as they drove past about 40 counter-protestors waving signs that read ‘Keep your rosaries off my ovaries’ and ‘Planned Parenthood: number one abortion preventers and reproduction educators. Thank you, Planned Parenthood,’ among others.

“We’re here to show Planned Parenthood is a necessary and integral part of our community’s healthcare,” said the group’s organizer, Brittney Benjamin.

Benjamin said the organization of the counter-protests began were the women who organized the Women’s March on Washington heard there would be nationwide protests against Planned Parenthood on the same day.

On the morning of Feb. 11, on Center Road near I-69, one counter protestor, Claire Jess, held a sign of a hanger up, which simply read: ‘Never again.’ Jess said the sign was symbolic of self-abortions with a steel wire coat-hanger or similar device.

Mary Holbrook is one of many who protested against Planned Parenthood on Center Road Feb. 11. Mary Holbrook is one of many who protested against Planned Parenthood on Center Road Feb. 11. “This is one of the ways people have eliminated unwanted children,” she said. “It maimed or outright killed many women and we should never have to revert to this again. Those against legal abortions will force women to revert back to these dangerous and secretive methods if they defund Planned Parenthood.”

Another counter-protestor named Maureen, who did not want to give her last name, was there with her two small children, who also held signs.

“They’ve done a lot for me,” she said. “My children wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for Planned Parenthood. I had cancer issues and Planned Parenthood supported me. They’ve also given me birth control I wouldn’t have been able to afford otherwise.”

“Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of death,” many of the protestors prayed aloud, as they waved their signs at passing, honking traffic.

“Our mission is to change women’s hearts, one at a time, and help them realize there are other options than abortion,” said Denise Gabryel, organizer of the pro-life rally.

One protestor, Marion Sioma, said she is an ultrasound sonographer and works for a mobile crisis pregnancy center. She also offers emotional support to those who have had abortions.

“Women regret their abortions-20, 30 and 40 years later,” she said. “I see it all the time with the women I speak to. We counsel abortion minded women. Most women chose life when they see the resources that are available and after they hear the heart beating, which starts 16 to 18 days after conception.”

Sioma said the center she works at offers free pregnancy tests and ultrasounds, as well as the counseling. They also refer women to a crisis pregnancy center that receives donations of cribs, diapers, car seats and other items mothers need.

Another protestor, Mary Holbrook, help up a stop sign that said “stop abortion now.” Holbrook also had two signs sitting on the ground next to her. The one on top said ‘defund Planned Parenthood now.’ Beneath that, one that said ‘a person’s a person, no matter how small -Dr. Seuss,” also showed several stages of fetuses.

“I believe in the sanctity of life, even the lives of our sisters in pink, the opposing side,” Holbrook said. “I’m glad they’re here. It means their mothers didn’t have abortions.”

The Burton Planned Parenthood provides HIV testing, pregnancy testing/ services, LGBT services, STD testing/treatment/vaccines, men’s health care (such as testicular and prostate cancer screening) and women’s health services (such as cervical cancer screening). Abortions procedures are not done at the location, although abortion referrals and emergency contraception (the morning after pill) are provided there. Planned Parenthood, as an organization, has performed more than 36,000 abortions this year.

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