- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 16, 2015

Spurred by a series of undercover videos exposing the harvesting and distribution of post-abortive fetal body parts, pro-life activists are organizing more than 200 rallies at Planned Parenthood clinics and a coast-to-coast effort to reach members of Congress at their home offices this week.

“This is really unprecedented in the history of legalized abortion — on the same day, over 200 public demonstrations against the killing of unborn children, all aimed at Planned Parenthood,” said Monica Migliorino Miller, director of Citizens for a Pro-life Society, one of the lead organizers for the Aug. 22 rallies.

“This is really our chance [to] topple this first domino in the abortion industry,” Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, told a conference call of reporters about Tuesday’s legislative outreach day, known as #WomenBetrayed Speak Out Day.

Thanks to six undercover videos released by the Center for Medical Progress and other pro-life efforts, “Planned Parenthood is on the ropes,” said Ms. Hawkins, who was joined on the call by leaders of March for Life, Pro-Life Future and the Susan B. Anthony List.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America and its allies — who decry the videos as outrageous, heavily edited and fraudulent — are mobilizing their responses.

“We are going to be out there,” said Sunsara Taylor, founder of StopPatriarchy.org, which is calling its allies to join counterprotests at the clinics.

There is “a growing fight over Planned Parenthood,” Ms. Taylor said, but the six videos are actually “manipulative,” “dishonest,” “very harmful” and “demonize” women and Planned Parenthood for “choosing to participate in donating tissue for medical research.”

Ms. Taylor and her colleagues recently posted their own video — “Abortion Rights People’s Hearing” — on the StopPatriarchy.org website. It explains how women in Mississippi and elsewhere are harmed by anti-abortion laws and efforts to defund Planned Parenthood.

“It’s up to us to make a big noise” and push back against the lies and attacks on abortion, a StopPatriarchy advocate says in the video, adding that the recent defeat of a Senate measure to defund Planned Parenthood shows that their side will prevail.

The Obama administration has warned Alabama and Louisiana that their efforts to defund Planned Parenthood by disrupting its Medicaid funding could be violating federal law, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in the Department of Health and Human Services advised state officials that Medicaid recipients are to be allowed to obtain services, including reproductive care, at any qualified provider, the Journal reported.

Spokesmen for Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, both Republicans, said the states have the right to give cancellation notices to Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood Action Fund also said that in at least three states, 65 percent or more of voters do not want the reproductive health organization to be defunded.

Voters see the “deceptive, anti-abortion videos [as] a concerted effort to end access to safe and legal abortion,” Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said of the Hart Research Associates poll of 500 voters in each of three states — New Hampshire, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Eric Scheidler, executive director of Pro-Life Action League — which is organizing the Aug. 22 National Day of Protest rallies with 40 Days for Life and Created Equal — said their goal is to decisively shift public opinion.

With many media outlets “downplaying the scandal” and Planned Parenthood’s “propaganda machine going full-tilt,” “it’s not surprising that voters are only gradually changing their minds about Planned Parenthood,” said Mr. Scheidler.

But the more than 200 rallies are intended to localize the story and make the defunding push “unstoppable,” said Mr. Scheidler. “There is a sense of momentum growing like nothing I’ve ever seen.”

• Cheryl Wetzstein can be reached at cwetzstein@washingtontimes.com.

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