Groups show up to support, denounce Planned Parenthood in St. Cloud
Feb. 17--A few dozen people stood outside Planned Parent and across the street in St. Cloud Saturday noon.
Two groups -- one in protest, one in support -- gathered to spread their message to the cars passing by.
Members of the group rallying against Planned Parenthood have protests of the organization every year during the Christian season of Lent, called 40 Days for Life.
People that support Planned Parenthood have become more vocal in their support in recent years, as the organization has come under political attack because it does perform abortions in some locations nationwide.
Grace Espinoza, a senior social work major at St. Cloud State University, said it was important for her to be here. She's also the president of Students for Choice at St. Cloud State.
"I think it's really important to know there's just as much support for Planned Parenthood as there is not," she said. "Personally, for me, Planned Parenthood has always been my health care provider. I've gone to them for many things. I'm not ready to be a parent and they've helped me prevent that through birth control."
Heidi Geislinger, a sophomore elementary education major at the College of St. Benedict, said it's important to attend protests like this close to home.
"It's important to like build relationships with people and also just be a light for the people who are driving by to know that they are loved," she said. "They can find help and ... there's organizations out there that can provide help for them so that they can go along with their pregnancy and find ... services throughout the baby's life and throughout their life."
Proponents argue Planned Parenthood provides much-needed health care to millions of women. Detractors say those services could be provided at clinics that do not perform abortions.
"I think the right to choose motherhood when you're ready is really important and no one knows that more than the woman herself," Espinoza said.
"Because not only do the baby's lives matter, but the mother's life matters," she said. " (We're) showing people that they are important no matter what stage of life. We're just speaking for the unborn because they don't have a voice."
Last year, at about this same time, the same groups also showed up to protest or support Planned Parenthood. At the time, there was a lot of political discussion of defunding the organization.
Abortions are not performed at the St. Cloud Planned Parenthood clinic. Federal law prohibits federal money being used to pay for abortions.
For more information about Planned Parenthood, visit plannedparenthood.org. For more about 40 Days for Life, visit 40daysforlife.com.
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