With the Republican party's planned defunding of Planned Parenthood looming, protesters on both sides took to the streets today. Reuters reports that anti-choice protests were expected at more than 200 Planned Parenthood locations across the U.S. In response, about 150 pro-choice rallies cropped up in places like parks and at politicians' offices. Counter-protests in St. Paul, Detroit, and New York City ended up vastly outnumbering the initial anti-choice rallies, while a rally in Tampa drew "hundreds on both sides," according to the Tampa Bay Times. “We want to see Congress and the White House encouraged to follow through on their campaign promise to defund Planned Parenthood and divert that money," Eric Scheidler, #ProtestPP organizer and executive director of the Pro-Life Action League, told Time.
Planned Parenthood did urge its supporters not to counter-protest outside its clinics in hopes of toning down crowd interference with potential patients seeking healthcare services. Pro-choice supporters and supporters of the clinic’s health services nevertheless showed up in droves.
"We always try to think about what is best for a patient coming to a center who is just trying to get care," Dawn Laguens, EVP of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, told Refinery29. "But there is no controlling the energy being shown today in every state — and all of us at Planned Parenthood are grateful for the outpouring of passion and concern. It's amazing!" In addition to these powerful protests, a dozen Los Angeles bakeries are participating in a bake sale to support Planned Parenthood, according to Time Out. The sale is brilliantly titled Bake America Great Again — and even celebrities are getting involved.
“As nationwide, anti-choice demonstrations are planned at clinics around the country this Saturday, we wanted to create a community-based response,” the bake sale organizers told Time Out. “The support from our peers and the business community has been overwhelming. Planned Parenthood was there for us; we're glad to be there for them.” Planned Parenthood has indeed been there for us — 2.5 million of us each year, in fact. As for us here at Refinery29, we're proud to stand with Planned Parenthood, today and every day. Check out photos and videos from both sides of today's protests below.