Planned Parenthhood protest comes to Pullman

On Saturday, protesters gathered in Pullman, calling for an end to federal funding for the health care provider Planned Parenthood.

The protest took place Saturday morning on the corner of Bishop Boulevard and Highway 270, stretching down East Main Street. The nearly 500-person protest coincided with hundreds of other protests nationwide.

“We’re made in God’s image,” said Samuel Paul, a Moscow native and organizer of the protest. “And if life matters, every life matters.”

Paul said he reached out to several Moscow and Pullman churches to organize the protest. Protesters held signs with anti-abortion messages, such as “Abortion = Murder” and “Who will speak for the defenseless?” among others.

Recent controversy surrounding Planned Parenthood, which provides various health services including abortion, stemmed from undercover videos released by anti-abortion activists. The videos implied the organization was engaging in illegal practices with the use of fetal tissue.

“Watching the YouTube videos we always knew it was pretty graphic,” said Moscow resident protester Josh Chemanss, 21. “But that was a pretty big motivator for coming today.”

Chemanss described the reception from the public and the passing traffic as ‘mostly positive’ but also received a few derogatory responses throughout the morning.

About 20 counter-protesters showed up to the event as well.

Tyler Walker, a senior computer science major at Washington State, said he was there to support Planned Parenthood because it provides various helpful resources to the public, emphasizing that there is more to the organization than abortion.

“I have a friend who’s transgender, when he was trying to talk to doctors in Pullman they would shut him out, and when he went to Planned Parenthood, they were there for him,” he said.

“Our philosophy is that people should be in charge of their own lives,” said Christine Wall, President of Alternatives to Violence of the Palouse (ATVP), a local domestic violence and sexual assault prevention organization. “We work with them to better their lives.”

Wall said that should extend to women being able to make their own decisions about their bodies, regardless of what personal beliefs or philosophies others may have.

According to a Washington Post article, more than 300 protests took place across the country in front of Planned Parenthood offices on Saturday.

Paul said the group decided not to protest in front of the Planned Parenthood in Pullman because it was out of view of vehicles and pedestrian traffic.