WASHINGTON, D.C., April 7, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Hours away from a government shutdown over Congress’ budget stalemate, Planned Parenthood and a few thousand pink-shirted followers descended upon Capitol Hill Thursday to pressure lawmakers to hold the line for the abortion giant’s funding in the final bill.
The rally, which drew about 4,000 participants according to Planned Parenthood’s count, came one day before the government was expected to shut down all non-necessary operations, with the GOP standing firm against the administration’s plans for the Continuing Resolution (CR) that would fund the government for the next six months. A short-term CR offered by Republicans on Monday was rejected by both President Obama and Senate leader Harry Reid, who criticized the bill’s stripping of taxpayer funds for abortions in the District of Columbia.
A number of pro-abortion lawmakers were at the rally as well as several actors. Chants of “we decide” pervaded the crowd, which was filled with pink signs supporting Planned Parenthood services such as cancer screening and STD testing.
“After tomorrow we will be victors,” crowed one speaker.
Actor David Eigenberg called the right to abortion “common decency” and, like many of those at the rally, expressed anger that abortion advocates were forced to return to Capitol Hill to defend “rights” originally secured by the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision.
“You are standing in the way of their plans to take America back to the 19th century,” said Wade Henderson, president of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, to GOP lawmakers.
California Democrat Senator Barbara Boxer told the crowd that she and 41 senators would vote against a bill that de-funded Planned Parenthood.
Anthony Romero, the Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union, also took to the stage to defend Planned Parenthood.
“Now why does a gay guy like me care about choice?” asked Romero, who suggested that the abortion fight and the gay ‘marriage’ fight were essentially the same.
“At the base of it, we control our bodies,” said Romero. “We decide who we love and marry. We decide whether or not we’re going to have a family, and those folks have to hear it from us that we decide.”
Social activist Marcia Dyson was hailed by Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards as “one of America’s foremost religious leaders” and was invited to close the rally with a prayer. Dyson instead declared that she herself had an abortion and said she hoped that Planned Parenthood’s services would be available to her grandchildren. “To that I say ‘A-women,’ not ‘A-men’s’ decision,” she concluded.