More than 1,000 people came out to defend Planned Parenthood in Kent, Washington on Feb. 11. Anti-abortion groups had called for “Defund Planned Parenthood” rallies at more than 200 Planned Parenthood clinics on Feb. 11. However, as in Kent, vastly greater numbers of pro-choice people instead turned up, outnumbering the anti-choice fanatics by massive margins.
In Kent, a working class suburb to the south of Seattle, a crowd began to gather at Town Square Plaza in downtown, near a shopping area. After a few speeches from Radical Women, Gender Justice League and Seattle Clinic Defense, the Planned Parenthood Defenders set off on a 1.7 mile march to the clinic. Spirited chants rang through the air. “Clap your hands, raise your voice, we are pro-choice,” and “Our bodies, our choice–their bodies, their choice!”
Cars driving past on the other side of the street honked their support of the marchers. At the top of a steep hill, marchers reached the site of the clinic. There, a tiny number of rosary-wielding anti-choice reactionaries held signs and knelt, apparently in prayer, across the street from the clinic, as a contingent of clinic defenders had already arrived and staked out the sidewalk directly in front of the clinic.
Mainstream media zeroed in on the tiny group of anti-choice protesters. When this reporter stood in front of the cameras to block their view of the so-called pro-lifers, the reporter said, “Don’t worry, I am covering both sides.” But does “equal coverage” of “both sides” really represent the reality of the protest or of public opinion about abortion and Planned Parenthood?
For some time, the anti-choice forces were surrounded by pro-choice activists who chanted and drowned out their bigoted nonsense. After a while, organizers called all pro-choice people to cross the street and stand together directly in front of the clinic which we did while chanting, “Get up, get down! Kent is a pro-choice town!” With that move, one could see exactly how small the anti-choice group was.
After several hours of demoralizing the anti-choice protesters, the Planned Parenthood defenders mustered forces and marched back to Town Square Plaza.