- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

About two hundred people gathered around the junior senator from Texas Tuesday as he shouted to his fans on the lawn, “I call upon the United States Congress right now to stand up and lead and to defund Planned Parenthood.”

He was met with the crowd’s enthusiastic chants of “Defund!” and more than one, “Thank you for your leadership.”

Sen. Ted Cruz was one of the last speakers in a pro-life rally in front of the United States Capitol, which started with Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and ended with Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson. Videos of Planned Parenthood employees talking about selling fetal organs and tissue to researchers surfaced last week, sparking national outrage and a Republican effort to defund the organization.

Starting at noon in the blistering sun, families crowded around the podium to hear Mr. Paul, Mr. Carson, Mr. Cruz, and other members of Congress, including Maryland Republican Rep. Andy Harris and Kansas Republican Rep. Tim Huelskamp.

Mr. Cruz called out the Senate for foiling his plan to defund Planned Parenthood, an effort he said was led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Mr. Cruz accused Mr. McConnell of working with Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid to work against Republican values, an echo of a speech he gave on the Senate floor Friday accusing Mr. McConnell of lying about a deal to give supporters of the Export-Import Bank an opportunity to revive it in exchange for votes for a trade bill.

Other speakers included Andrea Pearson from Silent No More, who spoke of her three abortions and the overwhelming guilt she felt. She blamed Planned Parenthood for taking advantage of her vulnerability, and vowed never to allow that to happen to anyone else in a desperate situation.

Matt Walsh, a conservative blogger for theblaze.com, riled the crowd up with his fiery rhetoric.

“Planned Parenthood gathers the dismembered limbs and disemboweled organs of murdered children and sells them like spare parts at an auto body shop. And this is a travesty…. but the first travesty is that they legally murder those children to begin with,” Mr. Walsh said to a cheering crowd.

Across the lawn was a small group of pro-choice activists, who said that abortion needed to remain a viable option for women who need it. They left before Mr. Carson approached the podium, and spoke of his experience as a doctor.

He told the story of a young lady he encountered who wanted an abortion, but eventually decided against it. He recently met that young lady’s daughter, who was now 25 years old and had a child of her own.

How can we consider that fetus “a clump of meaningless cells?” Mr. Carson asked. “There can be no liberty or pursuit of life without life.”

• Anjali Shastry can be reached at ashastry@washingtontimes.com.

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