Controversial Abortion Protest

September 24, 2008 7:46:45 PM PDT
A controversial protest is underway that could test the boundaries of the abortion rights debate. Opponents of abortion rights held a rally on Wednesday in Downtown Fresno to kick off their campaign called "40 Days for Life". Every day for the next 40 days, the protesters plan to be outside the city's Planned Parenthood. They say they're trying to education people about abortion, but supporters of abortion rights believe it is intimidation.Victor Fierro prayed outside Planned Parenthood, "Pray for our sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen." For 40 days, protesters like Fierro will be in front of the clinic in the Tower District. They're holding signs with antiabortion messages and talking to people like Dawn Deis who is going inside the clinic. Deis said, "She was very nice about it. She didn't bombard me in any way, make me feel uncomfortable."

A few feet away, the protesters stationed a video camera. It was pointed away from the building's front entrance but still able to show people walking to the clinic. Deis said, "If I were coming for an abortion, it might be a little intimidating."

Josh Brahm organized the protest. He says demonstrators are not trying to intimidate anyone, "If something comes up where the prochoice are angry at us, we have a camera that records it. We specifically set up the angle so it is not capturing people going into the clinic."

Planned Parenthood's Director Maryann Garcia disagrees and has positioned volunteers outside to escort people inside. Garcia said, "They're here to intimidate our patients who need access to health care. A lot of people these days don't have health insurance, and we help them."

Everyday for the next 40 days, antiabortion rights supporters will be outside Planned Parenthood. Both sides hope the next four weeks will be peaceful.

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