More than 50 protest Planned Parenthood

From today’s Moscow-Pullman Daily News:

Crispin Thompson holds the sign for his parents during the Defund Planned Parenthood Protest Saturday morning in Pullman.

More than 50 residents of the Palouse showed their dedication to a cause close to their hearts Saturday morning in Pullman at the area’s Defund Planned Parenthood Protest.

Organizer Elizabeth Dickson, 23, said the event was one of about 260 happening nationwide at the same time.

“It’s sixth in a series that has been going on for a year and a half,” she said. “The purpose is basically to start a conversation and to keep up pressure, to let people and our nation’s leaders know that we have a voice, and we’re trying to give a voice to those who don’t have one.”

Dickson, a recent graduate from New Saint Andrews College in Moscow, said she had organized such events before and was pleased with the response to Saturday’s.

“We’ve been having a lot of people honking and giving thumbs-up. In the past there have been a lot of ugly people, a lot of fingers,” she said. “It’s nice to see even people who disagree with us not being too aggressive.”

Participants ranged from toddlers and children with their parents and grandparents to college students with their roommates and friends.

The winter sun shone brightly over the group as they stood along the Pullman-Moscow highway where it turns into Main Street, but while the rays illuminated their mostly hand-painted signs and gave the illusion of warmth, a whipping winter wind still stung.

The protesters took little notice of the cold, focusing instead on holding their signs high, waving and flashing smiles at the drivers who took notice of them.

Veronica Cooper, 19, lowered her sign – which read “babies + you = humans” – to share her opinions on the protest.

“We’re just here today because we believe that babies are people, too,” she said. “Whether they’re in the womb or out, they don’t have a voice, so we’re here to voice that voice.”

Larry Cernik of Troy said he has been participating in similar protests for the past 30 years as, since young adulthood, he believed in the cause.

“I came out to protest the funding of Planned Parenthood,” he said, noting the protest was an opportunity to raise the consciousness of others.

“We have a whole class of people who are condemned without doing anything – good or evil. That’s a disturbing sign for our society.”

Jeremiah Thompson, who stood beside Cernik, agreed.

“We need to stand with them,” he said. “People don’t recognize them, they’re viewed as an inconvenience by our culture.”

While the protest was of Planned Parenthood, Pullman’s clinic does not perform abortions.

Thompson’s wife, Leslie, walked with their son, Crispin, 2, behind the crowd, as he spotted a jet and asked to catch it.

Leslie Thompson said while she has always been against abortion, recent events have made the issue more real to her.

Thompson said she and her husband wanted another child after Crispin but were unable to have one.

“We lost twins last year,” she said. “To lose your own, not through abortion but through miscarriage I can’t imagine what women who have abortions go through after that.”

Dickson said her beliefs began in childhood as well.

“I grew up Christian,” she said. “I’ve always believed babies were people, and if I believe that, how could I not stand up against the murder of them?”