About 250 abortion opponents rallied outside the Raleigh office of Planned Parenthood on Saturday as part of a national day of protest seeking to cut funding for the organization.
Planned Parenthood has been under increased attack since July, when a recently formed group called the Center for Medical Progress began releasing videos secretly recorded by anti-abortion activists posing as biomedical representatives seeking tissue for medical research.
Many protesters Saturday carried signs with graphic images from the videos.
“We are here to protest the sale of baby parts,” said Veronica Mullaney, 74, of Apex. “I don’t want our tax dollars going to Planned Parenthood.”
The protesters, mostly quiet, many praying, lined the sidewalks at Boylan Avenue and West Morgan Street on a sunny Saturday afternoon, a rare August day free of shirt-soaking humidity.
“We would love to see Planned Parenthood defunded at the federal and state level,” said Tami Fitzgerald, director of the N.C. Values Coalition.
The Raleigh protest was one of about 300 nationwide, according to anti-abortion organizations.
Planned Parenthood has flatly denied the allegations that it profits from fetal parts that are used in biomedical research. Officials have said the abortion opponents heavily edited the videos to create false stories and to distort what Planned Parenthood employees said.
Planned Parenthood said it follows all laws, regulations and ethical guidelines in handling donated fetal tissue, which is widely used to research diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
“These protests are intended to shame the patients who seek basic health care services from Planned Parenthood and to intimidate the health care professionals who work here,” Paige Johnson, a senior vice president for Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, said in a statement. “Each year, more than 25,000 women, men and teens rely on Planned Parenthood South Atlantic in North Carolina for quality, affordable reproductive health care.”
Several supporters of Planned Parenthood stood across the street holding signs of support.
“I just came home from yoga all blissed out and saw the protesters,” said Rhonda Roberts, who lives in the neighborhood. “Now I’m all fired up.”