Protesters gather outside Bemidji Planned Parenthood
BEMIDJI--They held signs that read: "Babies' Lives Matter" and used "Amen" not just as a punctuation to prayer, but an expression of agreement. About 75 people gathered under a sheet of clouds outside Planned Parenthood in Bemidji on Saturday mor...
BEMIDJI-They held signs that read: "Babies' Lives Matter" and used "Amen" not just as a punctuation to prayer, but an expression of agreement.
About 75 people gathered under a sheet of clouds outside Planned Parenthood in Bemidji on Saturday morning to protest the embattled nonprofit's sale of fetal body parts to researchers, and to "put an end to abortion," one ambitious protester said.
One of more than 300 similar protests-which inspired counter-protests by Planned Parenthood supporters-across the country Saturday, they drew occasional honks of accord from cars passing the strip mall where they convened.
Dennis Parish, who works for local Christian radio station Your QFM, said the protesters have no ill feelings toward the people who receive services from the local family planning center that shares a doorway with Edward Jones financial firm.
"We pray for them every day," he said.
One woman knelt in the grass and began scrawling across a blank white board:
"Support Women Save Lives," it said.
Lisa Beyer was one of the first protesters to show, at about 8:30. She said the protest was pulled together within the past week, largely by QFM. It was hard to know how many people would come, she said, but she was pleased when more and more people spilled out of cars with signs of their own and children in their arms.
"This is for anyone concerned about what's going on," she said.
Most protesters appeared 60 or older. Young adults came, too. Being Christian wasn't a requirement, but preferred.
Chris Nolte came from Fertile, Minnesota, and said he had never protested anything before.
But recently surfaced videos showing Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale of fetal tissue and organs, Nolte said, motivated him to drive the 75 miles to Bemidji.
"Maybe this is something we should have done something about a long time ago," he said.
Pastor Arlo Feiock, of Bethany Free Church in Bemidji, ran a little late. He came by a few minutes after 9 a.m. and squeezed toward the middle of the group.
"Come on everybody, shoulder to shoulder," he said to a still forming prayer circle. "It's so heartening to gather with fellow Christians," he began.