RICHMOND, Va., — Thoursands of Americans protested outside Planned Parenthood clinics throughout the United States Saturday morning to speak out against the abortion giant that receives more than $500 million in taxpayer funding every year for its 700 clinics across the nation.
Organized by several pro-life organizations, the nationwide protest, known as the "National Day of Protest Against Planned Parenthood," was held outside over 300 clinics in all 50 states and Washington D.C.
The protests follow the release of seven undercover Planned Parenthood videos by the pro-life Center for Medical Progress, which show Planned Parenthood employees discussing the sell of aborted babies' body parts. The eighth video, set to release next week, reportedly shows the abortion provider selling babies born alive in their abortion clinics.
Leslie Blackwell, regional co-coordinator with the Silent No More Awareness Campaign who emceed the Richmond protest, told The Christian Post: "We had over 500 people here and that's great. Usually you're lucky to get 10. At Forty Days for Life sometimes you might get 20, but never the crowds like this. Its been exciting, just nonstop response."
Blackwell was compairing Saturday's protest to past vigils at the clinic long before the release of CMP's investigation of Planned Parenthood that reveals how it profits off the selling of babies aborted during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy.
Since July, the California-based pro-life group has released seven of 12 videos that purportedly show Planned Parenthood officials engaging in the illegal sell of aborted babies' body parts — and maybe even born alive infants — for profit.
Planned Parenthood has denied the allegations, arguing that the footage was doctored and selectively edited, despite the fact that hours of full-length videos and audio have accompanied each release.
Pro-Life Action League Executive Director Eric J. Scheidler, whose group helped organize the national protests, told CP that the goal of the "National Day of Protest" was to draw more attention to what Planned Parenthood is doing.
"Our primary message is the shocking revelation that Planned Parenthood sells baby parts. While this story has dominated the pro-life and Christian press over the past month, many regular Americans have still never heard about it," explained Scheidler.
"They deserve to know the truth about Planned Parenthood, an organization that receives over half a billion dollars every year from taxpayers. It is time for this corrupt organization to be deprived of all taxpayer funding and investigated by the U.S. Justice Department."
At the abortion clinic off North Hamilton Street, protesters gradually trickled in, some carrying signs that read: "Defund Planned Parenthood," "Abortion Kills Children," "2,290 Babies Died Here in 2014," and "The Smallest Lives Matter Defund PP."
Eventually, the number of demonstrators grew to the point that scores of them ended up going across the two-lane street and standing on the sidewalk in front of the clinic.
As local pro-life activists delivered remarks, the occasional passing vehicle honked, usually though not always in support of the protest.
The protest carefully followed regulations for their demonstration, including not standing on Planned Parenthood's property and staying clear of their parking lot entrance.
A pair of individuals wearing vests that read "Pro-Choice Clinic Escort" helped guide cars in and out of the clinic as the demonstration continued.
When asked by CP what message she and her allies wanted to send with the demonstration, Blackwell replied that "there's hope."
"This is a pivotal moment for all of us in the fight against abortion. Because I think these videos really touched a nerve," said Blackwell.
"People are so devastated at these barbaric videos and they know the truth. So, I mean, that's why you've seen this incredible outpouring of people to support these protests nationwide."
The Christian Post attempted to get a reaction to the protest from the Richmond-based Planned Parenthood facility, however, their representatives declined to give comment.