Planned Parenthood protesters call for organization to be defunded
RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Protestors gathered outside a Planned Parenthood in Richmond Saturday morning, calling for the organization to be defunded.
It's the second national protest since undercover videos were released by the Center for Medical Progress showing alleged Planned Parenthood employees discussing compensation for aborted fetal parts.
"You can see the parts as they pick them up with a tweezer and talk about how this piece would be $500," said protest organizer, Cathy Birch.
The videos that sparked national outrage has developed into national protests, including one Saturday outside a Richmond Planned Parenthood on North Hamilton Street.
One protester, Sandra Helmick, says she was 19-years-old when she had an abortion at a local planned parenthood, eight weeks into her pregnancy.
"I heard him actually say 'the head is too big; we're going to have crush it'," said Helmick of her Planned Parenthood doctor that performed the procedure.
Several years and kids later, she's speaking out in hopes no other woman goes through what she did.
"I just will not be silent anymore about what is going on inside here," said Helmick.
This group gathered outside a Planned Parenthood hoping the organization is defunded, but those inside say they plan to continue doing what they have been: providing health care to women.
"We believe it's best for a woman with her doctor her family and her faith to make a decision about what's best for her life," said Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia executive director, Cianti Stewart-Reid.
Cianti Stewart-Reid says "fetal tissue donation" only happens at 1% of Planned Parenthoods in the country and that does not include Virginia.
"We believe the women of the Commonwealth should have access to the full range of reproductive care, and we're going to be her to continue to provide that care no matter what," said Stewart-Reid.
Stewart-Reid went on to say that fetal donations that are taken in other parts of the country are used for medical research and any money received goes towards the cost of the procedure itself. But those protesting call it barbaric practice of harvesting and selling of baby parts and want to see the 100 year organization shut down altogether.
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