Some 250 people rallied on Chicago’s tony Michigan Avenue in front of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc. (PPFA) offices this week, demanding legislators defund the organization.
The movement comes after four undercover videos — two this week — showing top executives at PPFA describing gruesome abortion procedures that occur in their clinics nationwide in order to sell the organs and tissue of unborn babies.
You can see the videos here, here (with a response from PPFA President Cecile Richards) and here. Two of the complete, unedited videos are here, and here. The crowd, many of them women and teens, listened as six speakers –including two women who had abortions –gave compelling testimony why Congress should immediately stop giving PPFA taxpayer money totaling more than $500-million annually.
“Jennifer,” a woman who had an abortion at the age of 14, told how the abortion counselor did not ask her if she was raped or why she was crying. “There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about my baby.”
Another woman, Adriana Morales, told the crowd she found healing after the trauma of having an abortion, and began working with Aid for Women, which gives women a chance to have an ultrasound, and offers pregnancy tests, confidential counseling, and ongoing support during pregnancy and beyond.
With offices a few doors from PPFA on Michigan Avenue, workers at Aid for Women attended the rally in front of Chicago’s Millennium Park. Chicago police moved the crowd there for safety reasons after it was determined the gathering was bigger than anticipated.
Aid for Women’s most impressive and compassionate care are Heather’s House and Monica’s House. These two residential programs provide a safe, supportive place to call home as residents develop important life skills, while pursuing educational and career goals. Women receive pregnancy support, parenting training, educational assistance, employment assistance, life skills classes, spiritual growth, one-on-one counseling and follow-up services.
Dan Proft, a political analyst and Chicago’s 560-AM talk radio host who was born and adopted 9 months before Roe v. Wade, said the videos are ending the discussion, at least between reasonable people. “You can’t listen to those Planned Parenthood butchers, you can’t watch those videos and say this is a reasonable difference of opinion between people who are pro-choice and people who are pro-life. Very few people are going to understand or tolerate what they are seeing on those videos. America is a much better place when we err on the side of life.”
#WomenBetrayed organizers had 65-70 locations around the country, with pro-life advocates tweeting and hashtagging #WomenBetrayed. It was so popular that shortly after the rally, it began trending on Facebook.
POLITICAL / PUBLIC POLICY RESPONSES: Illinois State Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) has called for the investigation of Planned Parenthood through four different state agencies: through the Office of the Inspector General, for non-compliance with laws; through the Office of the Attorney General, for the buying and selling of body parts, which is a criminal offense; through the Department of Public Health, for accountability on a number of items, including consent forms on organ tissue donation; and the Department of Revenue, to determine whether there were expenses to store and transport tissue and organs.
Ives faces an uphill battle since the legislature is controlled by Democrats, most who are staunch defenders and supporters of PPFA.
Ives is also pressuring Cook County to look into Planned Parenthood since a PPFA official mentions Stroger Hospital in Chicago as a key facility to get body parts because of their output.
On local Chicago radio station 560AM-WIND, Ives also highlighted the 2012 death of 24-year old Tonya Reaves, who died after a second trimester abortion performed at the Planned Parenthood facility on Michigan Avenue caused her to hemorrhage. PPFA used a “dilation and evacuation” abortion on Tonya Reaves, a method used when pregnancies have advanced beyond the first trimester. It involves opening the cervix and dismembering the unborn baby.
Ives says no Planned Parenthood facility is licensed by the state to perform abortions because of a loophole, and since 1999 none has been inspected. Yet, according to the Illinois comptroller’s office, the state has given over $42-million in taxpayer money to Planned Parenthood, even while PPFA is tax exempt and receives additional monies through Medicaid.
Among the Presidential candidates on the Democrat’s side, Hillary Clinton has called the videos “disturbing,” but taken no action. Bernie Sanders followed the lead of PPFA President Cecile Richards, saying only that the “tone” of PPFA officials was harsh. The rest of the Democratic candidates –former Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA), former Gov. Martin O’Malley (D-MD) and former Gov. Lincoln Chaffee (D-RI)– have largely remained silent.
At least nine states and two congressional committees have launched investigations into Planned Parenthood clinics nationwide.
The Center for Medical Progress (CMP), the pro-life group that conducted the undercover videos, will be releasing more videos. CMP’s David Daleiden says they have over 1000 hours of video from over 2.5 years of investigative journalism.
Additional pro-life speakers were writer and advocate Mary Hallan FioRito; former Fox News Sports reporter John Morales, who produced and directed the movie “40” which looks at the 40 years since Roe v. Wade; and Tom Olp, an attorney with the Thomas More Society.