Protests Spark Over Planned Parenthood And Abortion
On Saturday, Rebecca Porter was one of about 100 people standing on a sidewalk outside of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Temple Terrace, protesting abortion. She held a sign that read: "My Abortion Hurt Me."
Around the country, thousands of anti-abortion advocates protested at Planned Parenthood facilities, calling for an end to abortion and any government funding for the non-profit. Locally, there were protests in Tampa, Sarasota and St. Petersburg.
Porter, who's in her fifties, said she had three abortions in her twenties. At least one was performed at Planned Parenthood, she said.
"Abortion was really the only option I was given," Porter said. "After my third one, I tried to commit suicide several times. I just want young women to know abortion isn't the only option."
She said she wishes she would've considered adoption.
Terry Senhauser stood nearby. He pulled out a wallet to show a picture of a young girl in a pink onesie.
"She's my daughter," he said, tearing up. "Her parents, even on the other side of the world [in China], said 'we want her to live even though she's disabled'."
Senhauser said he wants "to change one heart at a time," so people will choose adoption over abortion.
Lili Degrasse said she doesn't want government money to go to a group that provides abortions.
"I'm here to support the de-funding of Planned Parenthood, in particular with our tax dollars," she said. "We all have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
Degrasse said those rights should be recognized for the unborn.
However, for decades, the Hyde Amendment has prohibited the use of federal dollars to fund abortion except for cases of rape, incest, or to save a woman's life. Some in Congress want to prohibit funding from any group that provides any abortion services.
On the same sidewalk, separated by the health clinic's driveway, about 100 people stood mostly clad in pink. They held signs that read "I STAND WITH PLANNED PARENTHOOD".
Dena Leavengood said removing all funding means fewer women will have access to sex education and contraception.
"If [anti-abortion activists] were to fund an organization that provides primarily preventive and contraceptive and family planning advice, we would have less needs of abortions," she said.
Planned Parenthood said abortion only accounts for three percent of their services and that most women go to the health care non-profit for contraception, testing and treatment of STDs or other services like cancer screenings.
Sally Spear said the health care provider is a life-saver for women who are poor.
"There's many women who live on the margin, economically, who absolutely depend on Planned Parenthood for health services," she said.