Weinbach Avenue is all that separated the pro and anti-Planned Parenthood rallies.
Two separate rallies were held outside of the Planned Parenthood office in Evansville on Saturday morning
The anti-Planned Parenthood rally was part of a nationwide protest organized by over 60 pro-life groups.
The pro-Planned Parenthood rally spawned from a Facebook event organized as a counter-response to the anti-Planned Parenthood rally.
The organizer of the counter protest Sarah Cannon said her friend suggested that they post an event on Facebook in response to the nationwide protest against Planned Parenthood.
“It’s important to demonstrate not only to Planned Parenthood, but to the community that there is a diversity of opinions inside of Evansville,” she said. “I strongly believe in a democracy being rested on the ability of the people to freely express themselves and also to have civil dialogue in the public discourse.”
Cannon, a youth pastor from Newburgh, said she only knew seven of the over 100 people who attended the counter protest.
“I think if anything this presidency has urged people into action that maybe weren’t, and what I really found is that all you need to do is provide an opportunity and people will come,” she said.
Planned Parenthood, 41 percent of which is funded by the federal, state and local governments according to the organization’s annual fiscal report, offers a number of services including healthcare services to women, contraception and abortion.
The abortion services provided by Planned Parenthood, which are not funded by the government but by outside sources, have come under scrutiny from pro-life groups who argue that their tax dollars should not fund an organization that partakes in the abortion procedure.
“The government has no right to tell us what we can and cannot do with our body and Planned Parenthood has saved so many lives and it should continue to be funded,” Henderson County High School sophomore Marlee Newton-Beck said. “We are in a very conservative state and not many people are open-minded and understanding of what people are going through.”
Newton-Beck said she has never used any of Planned Parenthood’s services, but she doesn’t want her access to their services to be prohibited if she were to need them in the future.
“The people over there don’t really care about you, they care about their own money and their own well-being,” Henderson County High School sophomore Haley Dorris said.
Federal action to defund Planned Parenthood would have to come in the form of a provision attached to any repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) said he along with his Republican colleagues expect to have repeal legislation by the end of the year.
“There’s a whole lot of people out there that are against abortion and what Planned Parenthood stands for,” Mater Dei High School senior Holden Hunt said. “This rally shows that this is a bigger deal and people are paying more attention to it. We just always need to respect life.”
Hunt said he wasn’t really involved in defunding Planned Parenthood until this year after he went with the Diocese of Evansville to the March for Life in Washington D.C.
Tyler Whetstone, a senior from Carmel Christian High School, said he has not been personally affected by Planned Parenthood but has heard many stories about people who have had abortions and then turned back on them.
“I think life is gaining ground in our country. For a long time, we have been silenced and I think now we are finally at a tipping point where we can come back,” he said. “I think it’s encouraging to see so many people coming out and standing up for life.”