‘Defund Planned Parenthood’ rallies held across state, nation

In Pasadena and Riverside, counter-protests dwarfed the demonstrations, but that wasn’t the case in places like downtown Los Angeles, Long Beach, Lawndale or San Bernardino

Several hundred protesters, the local portion of a nationwide rally to defund Planned Parenthood, stand outside the Planned Parenthood on Tustin Ave. in Orange, Calif. on Saturday, February 11, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

It wasn’t just about standing against abortion.

On Saturday, deacons, musicians, healthcare workers, college students, lawyers, Christians, parents and children stood side by side outside Planned Parenthood centers to seize political momentum for defunding hundreds of clinics across the nation.

Several hundred protesters, the local portion of a nationwide rally to defund Planned Parenthood, crowd the sidewalk outside the Planned Parenthood on Tustin Ave. in Orange, Calif. on Saturday, February 11, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

“We are probably in the best place we’ve been in decades to win this battle,” Republican activist Deborah Pauly told hundreds gathered at a rally in Orange. Planned Parenthood, she said, has its “back up against the wall.”

In some cities across the nation on Saturday, including Pasadena and Riverside, counter-protests dwarfed the demonstrations. But that wasn’t the case in places like downtown Los Angeles, Long Beach, Lawndale or San Bernardino.

In Orange, one of the largest rallies in the region, hundreds of anti-abortion protesters lined Tustin Street, waving signs they’ve used for years: “Moms for life. Dads for life.” “Killing babies is not health care.” “Defend Life.”

Some prayed out loud, while others sang church hymns. Enrique Zuniga, 77, of Yorba Linda, marched up and down the sidewalk carrying a 25-pound cross.

He’s been picketing Planned Parenthood for years. But, somehow, Saturday felt different. He felt hope.

Other anti-abortion supporters taking part in the staged rallies also said they felt empowered by the Trump administration and a GOP-led Congress.

“Our chance to defund is better than ever,” said Mecki Grothues, 76 of La Habra.

A regular demonstrator in Orange, she and her fellow parishioners were praying the rosary as motorists honked in support. Nearby, Carlos Reyes stood in silence with two of his six children.

His 9-year-old daughter Priscilla held a sign she and her sibling have been using in protest for three years: “I’m a person not a choice.”

Full story at the Press-Enterprise.

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