DES MOINES, Iowa -- On Saturday, pro-life Iowans joined protesters across the country as they took to the streets and sidewalks, rallying against Planned Parenthood and other abortion-providing clinics.
The loud honking of cars passing by compared to the quiet prayer of the protesters was almost as different as the pro-life supporters and the south side Planned Parenthood they stood across from.
“We see the momentum that’s being carried in the State House,” said advocate Geneveve Loraditch.
The bill to defund Planned Parenthood in Iowa has cleared the Senate and must pass through the House of Representatives before heading to the governor’s desk. That money has been promised to other pregnancy clinics that do not provide abortions.
“A procedure that ends a life, in our minds, is not healthcare,” said Loraditch.
Rally-goers say their message Saturday was for women dealing with unplanned pregnancy.
“I’d like women to understand that if they have an unplanned pregnancy it’s not the end of the world. There are crisis pregnancy centers that can reach out and help, there are churches in Des Moines that can reach out and help, and all they need to do is ask,” said Rhonda Phillips.
“I pray for them to choose life instead of death, it’s a very tough decision,” said Sonya Kokemuller.
Those protesting also say they need the money currently going to Planned Parenthood to be spread out across the state.
“I live in a rural community. We don’t have a Planned Parenthood there, where do all those women go to get care?” said Phillips.
The abortion debate can get fiery, emotional, and even angry at times. Those who stood for their beliefs Saturday say they did so in kindness.
“I recognize that I cannot possibly understand what goes through the heart and mind of a woman that feels like they’re in that kind of position, and the only thing I could hope to say to someone in that position is 'we love you, we love you and the choices that you’ve made regardless of what they are,'” said Loraditch.
Pro-choice supporters arguing against the bill say it will make it harder for women who rely on Planned Parenthood for primary family planning care to get the services they need, and taking funds away from the clinic will lead to more unplanned pregnancies.