Hundreds of people lined the street Saturday outside the Planned Parenthood office in Overland Park as demonstrators joined in a national day of protest against the women’s health agency that also provides abortion services.
A large number of Planned Parenthood and abortion rights supporters came out as well to counter a protest sparked by accusations that some Planned Parenthood offices illegally sell aborted fetus parts.
“This is a coordinated attack on women’s rights,” said Laura McQuade, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri. “We are here to represent what we know is the majority view in Kansas and Missouri … that abortion should be kept safe, legal and accessible.”
Neither the Overland Park office nor the St. Louis offices of Planned Parenthood have a tissue donation program, but anti-abortion demonstrators aired many complaints and concerns.
Julia Unger of Kansas City has been coming to the Overland Park site on Saturdays to try to provide “sidewalk counseling,” encouraging pregnant women to consider alternatives to abortion.
Unger made sure to be present for Saturday’s coordinated protest to join the crowd.
“I can’t force a woman to make a decision that I want them to make … but we care about the women and the babies inside them and we want to offer the opportunities that are available to them,” she said.
The Overland Park protest was one of more than 300 that were planned across the nation Saturday, coordinated by anti-abortion organizations.