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Emotions over anti-abortion campaign and SB 175 clash during Saturday Mass at Planned Parenthood

April 12, 2014 Updated: April 13, 2014 at 7:44 am
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photo -  Bishop Michael Sheridan, the Bishop of Colorado Springs, holds a mass on the sidewalk near Planned Parenthood to protest abortions on Saturday, April 12, 2014. Counter protester, Irene Luckett carries a sign past the group. Protestors from both sides of the issue participated in the peaceful protest. ONLINE PHOTO GALLERY (The Gazette/Jerilee Bennett)
Bishop Michael Sheridan, the Bishop of Colorado Springs, holds a mass on the sidewalk near Planned Parenthood to protest abortions on Saturday, April 12, 2014. Counter protester, Irene Luckett carries a sign past the group. Protestors from both sides of the issue participated in the peaceful protest. ONLINE PHOTO GALLERY (The Gazette/Jerilee Bennett) 

The final day of an international campaign against abortion called "40 Days for Life" ended Saturday in Colorado Springs with a Catholic Mass in front of Planned Parenthood - accompanied by honking horns and loud chants from about a dozen protesters.

On one side, about 40 pro-life supporters, led by Colorado Springs Bishop Michael Sheridan. Supporters sang, prayed and kneeled. Some held signs calling for an end to abortion.

On the other side, Planned Parenthood supporters, holding their own signs that urged passing drivers to honk horns in support of Planned Parenthood.

They got plenty of honks as cars whizzed by.

Those that hit their horns were thanked with a bow by Irene Luckett, who was wearing a bright, pink T-shirt with the word "Choice" across the front.

On the sidewalk, the anti-abortion group had scribbled a few messages. "Stop abortion now!" one exhorted.

Planned Parenthood supporters wrote "God bless PP."

This display of conflicting emotions occurred under the shadow of Senate Bill 175, the "Reproduction Health Freedom Act," a Colorado bill this legislative session that is fueling the familiar debate over abortion and women's rights.

The bill, co-sponsored by Sen. Andy Kerr (D-Lakewood) and Sen. Jeanne Nicholson (D-Gilpin), essentially guarantees that state or local policies will not interfere with a woman's decisions about reproductive issues such as abortion and contraception.

It also prevents future restrictions on reproductive choice not based on scientific evidence or medical consensus.

It passed the Senate Health and Human Services Committee in earlier this month and is headed for the Senate, where it will likely be debated this week.

Protester Cathy Kleinsmith, a Planned Parenthood supporter, favors the bill, like most other Planned Parenthood backers.

"We want to have more privacy for people," said Nasya Vincent, another protester.

Father Bill Carmody, who was also attending the Mass, said the bill would show that the state favors abortion and wants to quiet voices against it.

SB 175 is the "most extreme pro-abortion bill ever presented," Carmody said.

"It's pretty horrendous," Sheridan said. "It's so very broad, nobody knows that it means. We are doing everything we can against it."

And the debate is sure to continue.

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