Anti-abortion rally set for Saturday at Planned Parenthood office

Anti-abortion activists are expected to gather in front of the Planned Parenthood office in Northeast Portland on Saturday morning, part of a larger national demonstration calling for an end to the organization's federal funding. Organizers expect about...

Anti-abortion rally set for Saturday at Planned Parenthood office

Anti-abortion activists are expected to gather in front of the Planned Parenthood office in Northeast Portland on Saturday morning, part of a larger national demonstration calling for an end to the organization's federal funding.

Organizers expect about 100 people to attend the event starting at 10 a.m. in front of the Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette office at 3727 N.E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., said organizer Therese Ruesink. About 15 people will speak and the event will conclude at 11:30 a.m.

The Portland event is one of the rallies to be held Saturday at Planned Parenthood locations nationwide asking Congress and President Donald Trump to strip Planned Parenthood of federal funding and reallocate the money to community health centers that do not provide abortion services or counseling.

So far, 224 rallies are scheduled in 45 states, according the #Protest PP website. Rallies also are planned at the Planned Parenthood - Eugene-Springfield Health Center 3579 Franklin Blvd. in Eugene; and clinics in Seattle, Olympia, Kennewick, Pullman, Spokane and Wenatchee.

The coordinated nationwide protest is a first-time event, said Portland organizer Ruesink. But in the past, local abortion opponents held a "40 Days for Life" event in front of the Northeast Portland Planned Parenthood office, she said. One or two people typically stand on the sidewalk in front of the office, offering information and counseling to women seeking abortion services at the clinic, Ruesink said. This year's "40 Days" event will be held March 1 through April 9.

On Friday, the Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette office issued a statement urging its supporters to not rally outside the health center during the anti-Planned Parenthood protest.

"These rallies can often be intimidating, and can inadvertently prevent patients from getting the care they need," the statement said, urging supporters to instead attend Republican Rep. Greg Walden's town halls Friday in eastern Oregon, or the Pro-Choice Coalition of Oregon Lobby Day Rally at noon Tuesday, Feb. 28, on the Capitol steps in Salem.

--Allan Brettman

abrettman@oregonian.com

503-294-5900

@allanbrettman

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