PORTLAND, Ore. -- Anti-abortion activists emboldened by the new administration of President Donald Trump are staging rallies around the country calling for the federal government to cut off payments to Planned Parenthood.
But in some cities the demonstrations are being dwarfed by counter-protests.
Hundreds of anti-Planned Parenthood rallies were planned for 45 states Saturday, according to the #ProtestPP website.
Thousands of Planned Parenthood supporters turned out Saturday morning for a rally in St. Paul, Minnesota. In Detroit, about 300 people turned up outside a Planned Parenthood office, most of them supporting the organization.
In Portland, several hundred pro-life supporters rallied outside the headquarters of Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette in Northeast Portland. About the same number of counter-protesters showed up.
Almost an equal turnout in support of planned parenthood as the pro-life groups. No shortage of signs at this gathering. pic.twitter.com/fprxvOWrBX— Rod Stevens (@Gr8Photo) February 11, 2017
The CEO of Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette released a statement Saturday afternoon that said the nonprofit will remain focused on patient care.
"These protests are designed to shame the patients who seek basic healthcare services from Planned Parenthood and to intimidate the healthcare professionals who work here. Women should be able to get health care without fear of violence, harassment or intimidation," said CEO Stacy M. Cross.
She also called the term 'defunding' a 'misnomer.'
"There is no blank check that Planned Parenthood gets from the federal government, and it's not in the budget. Instead, the legislation prevents millions of women who rely on Medicaid from accessing the healthcare provider they've been depending on for decades," she said.
Trump last month banned U.S. funding to international groups that perform abortions or even provide information about abortions. His newly confirmed health secretary, Tom Price, has supported cutting off federal money to Planned Parenthood.
Federal dollars don't pay for abortions, but the organization is reimbursed by Medicaid for other services, including birth control and cancer screening.
About five percent of the services Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette provides are for abortion services, according to the company's website.
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