FERNDALE (WWJ/AP) – Critics and supporters of Planned Parenthood squared off outside a Detroit-area clinic during a protest over federal funding for the group.
At its peak, the event attracted hundreds of people Saturday. The crowds on both sides of Woodward Avenue in Ferndale were dominated by Planned Parenthood supporters who chanted and held signs in favor of abortion rights and access to health care. President Donald Trump was also a target.
Republicans have talked about cutting off federal money to Planned Parenthood. Jill Byczek, a 59-year-old from suburban Detroit, says her life changed after attending the women’s march in Washington. She says women are scared about threats to health care.
Planned Parenthood foes arrived early to get spots in front of the clinic. They recited the rosary prayer and held anti-abortion signs.
Betty Hodges, of Harper Woods, said she’s fighting for the rights of babies and would like to see Planned Parenthood shut down.
“If they (the mothers) have Medicaid or Medicare, they can go to other places to get health care,” she said. “I would like to see an end to abortion.”
But Susan Shelly, a Ferndale woman who supports the right to choose, says Planned Parenthood is about so much more than abortion.
“We had about 1,000 people who signed up to protest the protesters who are here regularly, making women feel uncomfortable to come and get services,” she said. “This Planned Parenthood does not even perform abortions here. This is women’s care.”
Similar rallies were held across Michigan and the nation on Saturday.
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