Planned Parenthood protesters, supporters demonstrate in Pullman

A line of Planned Parenthood supporters as seen from the west side of state Route 270.

SHANE MICHARD | Evergreen assistant news editor

Two Planned Parenthood-related rallies commenced at 9 a.m. on Saturday at the intersection of Bishop Boulevard and State Route 270 in Pullman. One group picketed in opposition, and the other in support of the reproductive healthcare provider.

Hundreds took to the streets of Pullman to display their stance on the organization, each camp claiming stretches of sidewalk.

“With children comes a blessing,” said Jeremiah Thompson, part of the anti-Planned Parenthood protest. “It’s beautiful until we start killing them.”

Planned Parenthood in Pullman was the target of arson on Sept. 4, rendering the facilities unusable. Since then, the community has ignited into action on both sides, said Pullman City Councilman Nathan Weller.

Weller held a pink sign at the rally, expressing support for Planned Parenthood and those who use its services. He said a lack of information and conversation has created a national polarization on the topic of women’s reproductive rights.

“The rights of the individual need to be protected,” Weller said, while engaged in a conversation with Thompson about the balance between independence and morality.

The two discussed when a fetus should constitutionally be considered a citizen, lingering over the blurred line of sentience and personhood.

“A lot of people feel strongly, and the conversation is an important one,” Weller said. “They don’t talk, and they don’t find a common ground.”

Christ Church in Moscow organized the initial rally, and citizens and WSU students in Pullman formed a separate protest on the opposite side of the street to show solidarity with Planned Parenthood.

Inflating balloons next to sign-makers for the anti-PP rally, Luke Jankovic said local churches relied on word of mouth, email blasts and local radio to gather support for the protest against PP.

“I don’t like government money going to fund abortions,” Jankovic said.

According to PP’s website, it receives federal funding from both Title X and Medicaid. Funds appropriated from Title X cannot be used to fund abortion under any circumstance, while Medicaid funds can only be used — dependent on state laws — for abortions if the pregnancy is threatening the mother’s life or if it was the result of incest or rape.