Dueling rallies held in Redwood City over Planned Parenthood funding

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (KGO) -- A funding fight for Planned Parenthood brought out both sides of the abortion debate Saturday with several rallies held across the Bay Area.

One gathering near El Camino Real and Berkshire Ave. in Redwood City was a dueling rally. There were anti-abortion activists on one side of the street and on the other, abortion rights advocates tried to make sure the counter-argument was heard.

"Pro-child, pro-baby, anti-death," one woman chanted as the two sides of a decades-old debate voiced their opinions about Planned Parenthood.

Stephen Vivien has been gathering signatures on a petition to push the movement to de-fund Planned Parenthood. "What we really want, is we want the abortion part of Planned Parenthood to be de-funded, and so that taxpayer money isn't going to pay for something that a lot of those taxpayers don't believe in," he told ABC7.

"The first ones who have rights are those who really don't have anybody defending them, you know," said Ruth Mercado. "I mean, all of us have rights to life."

Just across the street, there was a counter protest with abortion rights activists. "Tell me what democracy looks like," people called. "This is what democracy looks like," others answered.

"A lot of people who are down, who feel like the world they thought they lived in has seized to exist, the only thing that works is action," said Christine Case-Lo, who helped organize the rally. And she put those concerns into action by notifying others through social media. "Three percent of the services that are done by Planned Parenthood, three percent, are abortion. Most of them are education on getting contraception which prevents abortion."

"Pro-choice people are saying, 'Give people a choice.' Nobody is saying you have to have an abortion," CJ Hall said.

"Citizens for a Pro-Life Society" says most of the rallies at Planned Parenthood clinics drew a large crowd of opponents. In fact, the group expected it given the election of Donald Trump.

"You can look at it existentially and say, 'Well we're for healthcare.' Healthcare for the unborn too," Vivien said.

With opposing views, both sides committed to moving their message forward. Abortion rights advocates said they planned to work in teams Saturday afternoon and stay until 5 p.m. At 4:30 p.m., they had kept their word while the other side had left.

Editor's Note: Under the Hyde Amendment, Planned Parenthood receives no federal funding for abortions except to save the life of the woman, or if the pregnancy arises from incest or rape.
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