Back-to-back demonstrations in support of Planned Parenthood brought thousands to the Village on Saturday, with some 200 Pro-Choice advocates squaring off against a scattering of abortion foes outside the Margaret Sanger Center on Bleecker Street, followed by a much larger rally in Washington Square Park.
Both events were called in response to anti-abortion actions staged nationwide this past weekend, as pro-life forces, emboldened by the ascendence of Trump, are clamoring ever more loudly for the complete defunding of Planned Parenthood, a move which would deny basic health care, as well as birth control and abortions, to millions of women across the county.
At the Sanger Center much of the anti-abortion crowd–and there were probably only 30 total at the peak their protest–came from a group called ProLife Future Young Professionals, though several solo, overtly religious folks arrived and publicly prayed as well. Counter-protestors outnumbered them by a wide margin and, after picketing and chanting for an hour or so on Mott Street across from the clinic, many women told their personal Planned Parenthood stories in people’s mic fashion.
Meanwhile, a few blocks away in Washington Square Park, several thousand people gathered for a “Protect Planned Parenthood” rally. A full roster of speakers (including politicians Scott Stringer and Gale Brewer) and musical performances by Kashish and Golckabelle, among others, kept the enthusiastic crowd focused and loud. But the highlight of the day had to be when Eve Ensler, author of The Vagina Monologues, got up there delivered an impassioned speech that got the whole park roaring.