Anti-abortion and pro-choice rallies have been held across the country over the past month, calling alternately for the ban or support of abortion.
“I personally believe that abortion is a profound injustice to the human race,” says Andy LaBine, 44, on the anti-abortion side of a rally outside of a Planned Parenthood in St. Paul, Minnesota, said to the Associated Press.
“They do a lot of work to help women with reproductive health — not just abortions, obviously — but they help with birth control and cancer screenings and counseling and a whole variety of services, and it seems they’re under attack right now, and that concerns me greatly,” said Kathy Brown, 58, a supporter of a local organization attending the rally, outside of the same Planned Parenthood, according to the Associated Press.
Outside a Planned Parenthood clinic in the Dallas suburb of Plano, a few more anti-abortion protesters gathered that would on a normal Saturday, attendees said. They held signs that said “Abortion Kills Children,” ”Pray to End Abortion,” and “Men Regret Lost Fatherhood.”
Anthony Hodgson, 57, touted a sign with the words “Pray to End Abortion.”
“I believe it’s not right. God told us, ‘Thou shalt not kill,'” Hodgson said.
In Detroit, Jill Byczek, 59, told the Associated Press that she felt empowered after participating in the recent women’s march in Washington D.C. She wore a pink shirt that said “My Body My Choice,” and said that Planned Parenthood stands for ‘so much more’ than abortion services.
In one of President Trump’s first actions in office last month, he blocked federal funds from going to international groups that perform abortions or even provide information about abortions.
Vice President Mike Pence staunchly opposes abortion, due to his Catholic beliefs, and the newly confirmed health secretary, Tom Price, has supported cutting off taxpayer money to Planned Parenthood in the past.
U.S. Federal money doesn’t pay for abortions, but the organization is reimbursed by Medicaid for other services, including birth control and cancer screening.
Opponents of abortion have tried long and hard to cut Planned Parenthood funds, arguing that the reimbursements help subsidize abortions.
Planned Parenthood says it performed 324,000 abortions in 2014, the most recent year tallied, but the vast majority of women use planned parenthood to gain access to contraception, testing and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, or other services including cancer screenings.
“This is a way women get educated, get protected,” said Jill Byczek of Detroit. “This shows people are upset about what’s happening. … We are scared. We are worried. We have a person in power who’s against us.”