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Nationwide protests scheduled at Planned Parenthood clinics amid defunding debate

Pro-life activists hold a rally opposing federal funding for Planned Parenthood in front of the U.S. Capitol on July 28, 2015 in Washington. (Olivier Douliery/Getty Images)

As Congress debates stripping federal funds from Planned Parenthood, a coalition of pro-life groups has organized nationwide protests outside hundreds of the organization’s clinics.

The #ProtestPP demonstrations will take place outside more than 200 Planned Parenthood clinics in 44 states and the nation’s capital Saturday.

House Republicans have indicated that they will seek to redirect federal funds from Planned Parenthood to community health centers instead. Organizers of the protests — Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, Created Equal, the Pro-Life Action League, 40 Days for Life and the Susan B. Anthony List — said that they want to encourage lawmakers to finally act on reallocating the funds away from the nation's largest abortion provider, a long-held goal of pro-life activists.

Planned Parenthood clinics have been accused of making fraudulent Medicaid claims and health code violations. The organization was also recently the subject of a congressional investigation by the House Select Panel on Infant Lives following allegations that they were selling aborted fetal body parts for profit, which is illegal in the United States. Spokespersons for Planned Parenthood have denied the allegations.

“The federal government has been subsidizing Planned Parenthood to the tune of more than $430 million annually,” Eric Scheidler, executive director for the Pro-Life Action League and the national organizer of the #ProtestPP campaign, said in a statement:

This, at the same time that the nation’s largest abortion provider holds $500 ticket fundraisers and charges a woman about $500 to abort her baby. On top of that, Planned Parenthood is trafficking baby body parts. Taxpayers are sickened to see their money spent in support of these atrocities.

Shawn Carney, the president of 40 Days for Life, said in a statement, “Planned Parenthood’s brand is at an all-time low and their leadership reflects how disconnected they are from science and basic American values.”

“This weekend thousands of Americans will stand in peaceful opposition to send a message that abortion is not health care and as the nation’s largest abortion operation, Planned Parenthood should not get $1 of taxpayer money, much less $430 million," Carney added.

The coalition organized similar events in 2015 and 2016.

Cecile Richards, the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood, has argued that community health centers will not be able to absorb Planned Parenthood’s patients if Planned Parenthood loses its federal funding.

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