Pro-life and pro-choice supporters rally outside Mishawaka Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood took center stage again Saturday as pro-life supporters rallied outside of the Mishawaka branch encouraging lawmakers to defund Planned Parenthood. Pro-choice supporters showed up to counter-protest.

More than 100 people joined pro-life supporters in 45 states across the country in the nationwide rally.

Pro-life signs and pro-choice chants met halfway to protest peacefully.

“We’re here to encourage our legislators and the public to oppose any additional funding—any kind of funding for Planned Parenthood, an organization whose central mission is to support the murder of unborn children,” said pro-life supporter Pete DeKever.

“Only 3% of what Planned Parenthood does is abortion, so people need to get rid of the stigma of that. You can be pro-life and pro-planned parenthood at the same time,” said pro-choice supporter Marissa Roach.

But the pro-lifers who organized Saturday’s rally in Mishawaka say abortions overshadow the other services Planned Parenthood provides, like pregnancy tests, prenatal care, and pap smears.

“I think that the idea of supporting women is a good one, especially the poor, but I think that abortion is not offering support in the right way,” said pro-life supporter Caroline Cole.

“It’s not an abortion issue, that shouldn’t be disqualifying. It’s a health issue and a human rights issue,” said pro-choice supporter Ben Howe.

The rally turned into a honking battle between both sides, with people lining the streets.

Pro-life supporters want the money redirected “to federally qualified health centers…that don’t do abortions,” said Cole.

Those who support Planned Parenthood say the community needs it.

“It helps a great deal with testing for HIV, gonorrhea, and other different STDs that are very important in our communities and that happen all the time, you know?” said pro-choice supporter Nnenia Okereke.

“The fact of the matter is, they’re still performing abortions,” said St. Joseph sophomore Lauren Salela and pro-life supporter.

The Mishawaka Planned Parenthood where people protested does not offer abortions at this time.

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