This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Standing in the rain outside a Planned Parenthood center Saturday, men, women and children sang and waved signs in solidarity with those who want to see abortions made illegal.
About 50 protesters, including members of Pro-Life Utah, gathered for the initial nationwide protest against Planned Parenthood, which will be scheduled for the fourth Saturday of April until legalized abortions are abolished. Coordinated protests were planned at more 200 Planned Parenthood centers across the United States.
"It is a controversial subject, but there are a lot of us who object to our tax dollars providing abortion," said Mary Taylor, president of Pro-Life Utah. "… Our strongest advocates have a personal story of some kind, whether it's a woman who's had an abortion or someone who has worked in an abortion clinic and saw first-hand."
On the cold, gray Saturday afternoon, Taylor's group gathered outside a Salt Lake City center at 654 S. 900 East. Many of the protesters wore yellow T-shirts, printed with messages like "Choose love" and "I speak for those who can't."
Bruce Rigby, founder of Pro-Life Utah, pointed out that abortion, "for us, is one of the few political discussions that we draw a hard line. ... No matter how anyone wants to coin it, that fetus or baby is a human being. And we want to protect it and we want to energize others to protect it."
In a statement, Karrie Galloway, CEO of the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah, said that the care the centers provide "isn't about politics," but the wellbeing of the people they serve.
"[Staff members] work to ensure that women and families are able to access affordable, high-quality healthcare in a safe and caring environment. That's what we're focused on today and every day," Galloway's statement reads. "These protests are designed to shame the patients who seek basic health care services from Planned Parenthood and to intimidate the health care professionals who work here."
Mary Kelsh, Pro-Life Utah's executive director, wants to see more awareness come out of these protests, including about other options, such as adoption resources.
Kelsh said she never thought she would get involved in "something like this," but she "couldn't stand by and do this anymore and allow this to happen without saying something. Even if we don't make a change, I want to at least say that we tried."
Gov. Gary Herbert blocked funding to Planned Parenthood in August in reaction to the release of videos secretly recorded by anti-abortion activists. The Republican governor said he had concerns the organization had "colored outside the lines."
The organization sued Herbert, saying its rights to free speech and due process were violated. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has allowed the money to stay on course as it considers a December ruling issued in Salt Lake City by U.S. District Court Judge Clark Waddoups. Utah had a right to cut the contracts, Waddoups said, in order to avoid appearing corrupt.
But Planned Parenthood attorneys in documents filed in January said the order threatens the health of Utahns who rely on the organization for health care and hurts Planned Parenthood's reputation.