About 100 people gathered outside the Planned Parenthood office in Overland Park on Tuesday afternoon following the release of a third video that abortion opponents say proves the organization illegally sells aborted fetus parts.
Most of the demonstrators were abortion opponents who held signs protesting the procedure. Steps away, Planned Parenthood supporters, most dressed in pink shirts, stood in front of the local office to back the organization.
Beth Sykora said she has been attending rallies as an abortion opponent for about 16 years. She said those at the rally didn’t oppose Planned Parenthood supporters but were just trying to teach them to be more protective of everybody, from the embryo to the elderly.
“We’re trying to turn their minds and their hearts around a little bit to try and see our point of view,” Sykora said.
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A group of women supporting Planned Parenthood held a large sign that said “Health care happens here.” They were among about 40 supporters.
Standing in front of the office suite, Amanda Hemmingsen from Prairie Village said she wanted to show her support for Planned Parenthood against the recent attacks.
“They’ve always followed the law,” Hemmingsen said. “They do really good work. It’s just kind of surprising to me that a little bit of political grandstanding could have such an impact on the public perception.”
The videos have been released this month by the Center for Medical Progress, an anti-abortion group.
Gov. Sam Brownback of Kansas has called for the state to look into whether any facility is “engaged in the inhumane practice of selling tissue and organs from unborn children who are aborted.” In Missouri, the office of Attorney General Chris Koster also has opened an investigation.
Laura McQuade, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, told The Star last week that neither the Overland Park nor the St. Louis affiliates have a tissue donation program.
The national office has said that a few of its clinics have tissue donation programs for medical research, but it denies profiting from the practice.