Pro-Lifers Picket Easton Planned Parenthood in Nationwide Protes - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Pro-Lifers Picket Easton Planned Parenthood in Nationwide Protest

Pro-life conservatives hold signs accusing Planned Parenthood of organ and body harvesting. Pro-life conservatives hold signs accusing Planned Parenthood of organ and body harvesting.

EASTON, Md. -- Pro-life protests happened in front of all Planned Parenthood clinics nationwide Saturday afternoon calling for federal defunding of the nonprofit.

Nearly one hundred pro-lifers with protest signs peaceably assembled in front of the Easton Planned Parenthood clinic at 9 a.m. for about two hours.  

The national protests come after a slew of undercover 'sting' videos were released by an anti-abortion conservative group accusing the nonprofit of selling the body parts of aborted fetuses.

The videos, released by the Center for Medical Progress, have outraged pro-life conservatives prompting demands for Congress to cut ties with the organization.

Saturday's protest in Easton did not go unnoticed by lawmakers.

Congressman Andy Harris, R-Maryland, joined in the protest alongside supporters holding signs that read, "stop killing babies and selling their body parts."

"If they want to make their money selling body parts that's fine," said Harris. "But they're not going to get the federal government to help them to do that."

WBOC reached out to the interim president and CEO of Maryland's Planned Parenthood, Dr. Amina Chaudhry, and in response to the video's allegations a statement was issued: 

"Planned Parenthood is the most trusted women’s health care provider in this country. We have provided birth control, lifesaving cancer screenings, safe abortion, and other high-quality health care for 99 years.  One in five women American women reports having been to Planned Parenthood for care.

Planned Parenthood’s medical providers and staff are the best in the country. We have the highest professional standards, and we take swift action if we are ever aware of an instance where those standards aren’t being met."

But protestors including David Smith of Parsonsburg, are convinced Planned Parenthood is practicing body and organ harvesting, without actually having seen said videos.

"There are several videos out there and I have not seen them, but we really believe from what I understand that once anyone sees those videos, they're just so horrific," said Smith. 

Planned Parenthood is the largest women's healthcare provider in the U.S.  And It's no stranger to controversy.

The nearly 100-year old nonprofit has been the target of pro-life activists for decades, dating back to the early 20th century. But this time around could be different as pro-lifers say they have a shot at dismantling the nonprofit.

With a majority of Republicans controlling the House, Harris says that hurdle will be cleared easily. But getting approval from the Senate to defund and eventually shut down Planned Parenthood, may prove more difficult.

"We clearly are going to be able to defund Planned Parenthood through the House. The Senate's a little more difficult because of the threshold for filibusters," said Harris. "You need 60 votes. I'm not sure we have 60."

Planned Parenthood is fighting back with a campaign of its own dubbed #StandwithPP. The hashtag is trending with Twitter users who support women's access to reproductive services.

Chaudhry further explained in a statement that the attacks on the nonprofit are steered by right-wing extremist agendas.

"Extremists who oppose Planned Parenthood’s mission and services are making outrageous and completely false claims. They are engaged in a fraud, and other claims they’ve made have been discredited and disproven.

The group behind these videos has close ties with organizations and individuals who have been linked to the firebombing of abortion clinics and threats to the physical safety of doctors who provide abortion. The real agenda of these baseless attacks has become totally clear: to ban abortion and limit women's access to reproductive health care at Planned Parenthood. The vast majority of the public rejects this extreme political agenda and rejects the fraudulent campaign behind it."

National pro-life organizations say Saturday's nationwide protests are unprecedented. They say thousands of individual protests at clinics have happened before, but this is the first time that hundreds of demonstrations have happened on the same day.

Members of Congress have called for an investigation into Planned Parenthood in response to the controversial videos.

But recent reports say a number of state agency officials in Georgia, Massachusetts, Indiana, South Dakota and Florida have investigated Planned Parenthood clinics there and have not found any evidence of illegal activity.

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