Pro-life, pro-choice supporters in Philly region protest at Planned Parenthood [photos]

    As part of a coordinated national campaign, protesters stood outside Planned Parenthood clinics across the country — including one in the Philadelphia suburbs.

    Today’s rallies were to support Congress’ attempt to defund Planned Parenthood and reallocate the money toward other community health providers.

    Anti-abortion advocates braved the cold and snow to hold signs, sing hymns and pray together. More than 150 people stood outside the Planned Parenthood clinic that provides abortion services in Warminster.

    Protesters held signs with slogans like “Honk for Life” and “Women DO regret abortion.”

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    Tony Castle and his wife brought their three young children out. “I disagree with our tax money being used to support Planned Parenthood. They don’t have a monopoly on care. This has to stop,” he said.

    He says the ban on federal dollars being used for abortions isn’t enough. “I think that to me that sounds like a nice accounting gimmick and immaterial.”

    Speakers included Father Frank Pavone, the national director of Priests for Life and Kevin Burke, co-founder of Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries.

    Lauren Kretzer, regional coordinator for the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, spoke about having two abortions as a young woman and the heaviness she carried with her until she was able to finally open up about them at a ministry.

    “What I did not know at the time was that all around me were people who had the same secret. They were not just people outside the church but also inside sitting in pews, behind the pulpits, even in our seminaries,” she said. “No one ever told me how my abortions impacted my friends, my family, my future husband or our ability to start a family of our own.”

    Attendee Linda Korpel from Bridgeport has been going to rallies like these since her father inspired her more than 40 years ago. “I think it’s a crime that our tax money goes to Planned Parenthood,” she said. “I just don’t believe they’re on the up and up. I’d like to take my money that I pay in taxes away from them.”

    She says she helped close a clinic located in King of Prussia a decade ago. “I’ve been to a lot of these things. And I just see so much negative in the clinics.”

    Planned Parenthood, for its part, says defunding the organization means denying some people who rely on federal funds from accessing their only option for health care.

    “We are here for our patients, no matter what,” said Melissa Reed, CEO Planned Parenthood Keystone, which oversees 12 clinics including the Warminster one, in a statement. “These protests are designed to shame the patients who seek basic health care services from Planned Parenthood and to intimidate the health care professionals who work here. Women should be able to get health care without fear of violence, harassment, or intimidation.”

    In the Philadelphia region there was a protest at the Planned Parenthood location in Northeast Philadelphia.  There were others in the Garden state, mostly in North New Jersey. The group avoided doing anything at the center city Philadelphia location.  In Wilmington, Delaware there were about 3 dozen people at the Planned Parenthood center at the corner of 7th and Shipley Streets.  They were joined by another dozen supporters of the center.  Their dueling signs mixed together in the crowd.  

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