Protesters converge on Planned Parenthood center

January 19, 2010 11:31:05 AM PST
Thousands of demonstrators gathered in southeast Houston today to protest the opening of a new Planned Parenthood clinic. The building is located on the Gulf Freeway near the University of Houston. Protestors are calling it an 'abortion super center.' Demonstrators called the building a lot of things, but right now you can call it a construction zone. The center itself won't be open for several more months. But when the doors do open, they'll take about 35,000 to 40,000 patients a year. Less than 4,000 of those patients will come for abortions. Even so, that is way too many for this protest group, and they gathered by the thousands today to say so.

At first glance, it is more pop show than pro-life rally. But the thousands who converged here were not here for music, but for the message.

"The government is saying it's a right, God is saying it's a wrong," said Tony Perkins with the Family Research Council. "Government is saying it's a fetus, but God says it is the face of our future."

Rally participant Juda Myers told Eyewitness News, "I am so grateful that there are this many people who really are fighting for people like me."

Myers is from Houston. She came out to share the message, but also to share her story. Adopted a child, when she found her birth mother, Myers found out she was the product of rape and could've been aborted.

She said, "Planned Parenthood is trying to take out people like me, because they are very interested in getting rid of, for the sake of the woman, people like me who were conceived in rape."

Myers and thousands of others were here today to oppose the nearly complete Planned Parenthood clinic in southeast Houston, hoping that their voices and prayer would be enough to keep the clinic from opening. But even today behind the fences where thousands of protesters gathered, work goes on.

There was a small contingent of pro-choice protesters on the side opposite from the pro-life rally. The clinic, one of the largest in the nation, should open on time later this year.

"I've heard some interesting words describing our new building," said Planned Parenthood spokesperson Rachelle Tafolla. "But it is focused on prevention. We are going to have our flagship health center there in addition to a lot of other services."

Protesters vow to be out here again before this place opens, and once it opens, as well. Those plans aren't a huge surprise to Planned Parenthood. They've built some protest protection into the construction of this new building.

These protesters weren't here just to protest the fact that abortions will be performed in this building. They also protested where this clinic is located, in the heart of two minority communities in Houston.