Crowds protest Planned Parenthood in Roanoke

By Rachel Lucas - Weekend Anchor / Reporter
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ROANOKE (WSLS10) -Anti-abortion activists protested outside Planned Parenthood clinics across the nation Saturday morning, including  in the Roanoke Valley.

They want to call attention to secretly taped videos that show Planned Parenthood officials discussing the collection of fetal organs for research.

Activists say the videos released by the anti-abortion group "center for medical progress" show that planned parenthood illegally sells fetal tissue for profit.

Planned Parenthood officials say all tissue donations are legal and ethical.

Saturday's protest in Roanoke started at 10 am in front of planned parenthood. More than 350 people showed up with signs in hand, including children.

They were met with a much smaller crowd in opposition of the protest, one of which included a rape crisis counselor Kelsey Harrington of Roanoke.

Protesters not only stood along the road where their permit allowed them to, they confronted patients of planned parenthood whom they say had scheduled abortions. Harrington says that practice is crossing the line, especially when it comes to rape victims.

"I want women to be able to access abortion in a safe legal way, in a way that feels okay. It's not an easy decision for anyone to make, but the shame of people making them feel bad for that decision isn't right," Harrington said.

Organizer of the "forty days of life" campaign and Liberty University graduate Sean Maguire says they plan to be back. According to Maguire, $12,000 dollars of tax revenue is given to the local planned parenthood a year. When asked about confronting rape victims and questioned if that is an ethical practice he says the chances of meeting a rape victim there in Roanoke is very unlikely.

"It is incredibly rare that we will meet someone who has been raped herself and become pregnant. I have never met someone who has become raped and pregnant but today we did have conversations with women who were having abortions and they were scheduled for today. They didn't give us reasons. They didn't want to talk with us," Maguire said.

He says the decision to abort is never right, under any circumstances.

He says in the coming days, they will be back to offer street ministry to patients.

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