Save this content for laterSave this content on your device for later, even while offline Sign in with FacebookSign in with your Facebook account Close

Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood protest draws hundreds

August 22, 2015 Updated: August 23, 2015 at 1:02 pm
0
photo - More than 300 anti-abortion protest Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015, outside the Planned Parenthood on Centennial Boulevard in Colorado Springs as part of the National Pro-Life Vigil to defund Planned Parenthood. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)
More than 300 anti-abortion protest Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015, outside the Planned Parenthood on Centennial Boulevard in Colorado Springs as part of the National Pro-Life Vigil to defund Planned Parenthood. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock) 

Hundreds of anti-abortion Colorado Springs residents spilled into Centennial Boulevard Saturday as part of a national push to protest Planned Parenthood.

People gathered outside Planned Parenthoods in seven Colorado cities and hundreds of others worldwide as part of the "National Pro-Life Vigil to defund Planned Parenthood," objecting claims that the organization sells fetal tissue for profit.

A series of videos was recently released by the Center for Medical Progress, which had secretly recorded Planned Parenthood officials discussing the use of fetal organs for research. Planned Parenthood has denied making profits off the sale of fetal tissue, which is against the law. The organization provides fetal tissue for research and says it is reimbursed only for the costs of providing it.

Saturday, at least 300 people gathered on Centennial Boulevard near Planned Parenthood, holding signs disparaging the organization and pleading for passersby to choose life, love, adoption and redemption.

"The videos that have been released recently really made the realities of abortion such that I had to respond in action," said Rachelle Stephenson, 28, who joined the crowd with her husband, Joshua, 30, and their son Jonah, 1.

Social media has spread the claims about Planned Parenthood like wildfire, and this was the first time the Stephensons felt compelled to do something about it. They are Christians and want to give a voice to the unborn, they said.

The response to the protest was interesting to Joshua Stephenson, who noticed some drivers thrust middle fingers in their direction and others wave in support as they drove by.

"It's sad how polarizing the issue is," he said. He said he wasn't sure whether he should expect an aggressive protest, or one filled with love, but he was pleasantly surprised by the civility.

Several times, the whole rally joined together in prayerful song. A father of several adopted children spoke about how his kids' birth mothers choose to love them before they were even born, allowing him and his wife to have more kids when they were no longer able to do so biologically. Father Bill Carmody and Bishop Michael Sheridan with the Diocese of Colorado Springs also gave speeches.

"Every life is valuable," Rachelle Stephenson said. "In the womb, and abortion workers, too. Every life is precious. We stand for that, too."

Joseph Martone, 54, said he had protested at the site every day of the week leading up to Saturday's event. He protests at that corner several days a week, and has been arrested three times and at least once convicted of trespassing for getting too close to Planned Parenthood and approaching people headed for the clinic.

"I started stopping so many abortions, and that's all they care about," he said. "If I save a life, I'm going to do what God calls me to do."

Martone said he has been threatened and sometimes people in the parking lot drive at him as if to hit him with their cars, he said. He gives out his phone number so people can have someone to talk to, and he had to get a separate cellphone number because of all the calls, good and bad.

"It's worth it," he said Saturday. "It's worth everything I go through."

-

Contact Kassondra Cloos: 636-0362

Twitter: @Kassondra Cloos

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Incognito Mode Your browser is in Incognito mode

You vanished!

We welcome you to read all of our stories by signing into your account. If you don't have a subscription, please subscribe today for daily award winning journalism.

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

Some news is free.
Exceptional journalism takes time, effort and your support.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

articles remaining
×
Thank you for your interest in local journalism.
Gain unlimited access, 50% fewer ads and a faster browsing experience.