More than 220 rallies in 45 states across the nation took place on February 11, the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, to protest Planned Parenthood and call for the defunding of the mega abortion provider.
Members of the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) joined the rally organized by pro-life leader Larry Cirignano in Washington D.C., which started at the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court and ended at the new Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington located on 4th Street NE.
Permits for the legal and peaceful pro-life event were secured. However, what began as a simple 1.6 mile march was interrupted by a mob of lawless pro-abortion activists who wanted to deprive the peaceful pro-life marchers of their 1st Amendment Rights.
How it Started
Fr. Stephen Imbarrato of Priests for Life lead the gathering in an opening prayer. And as the march kicked off, students of Saint Louis de Montfort Academy showed up to bolster the ranks of the TFP bagpipe and drum corps. In total, there were roughly 80 pro-lifers.
Within minutes, however, a mob of Planned Parenthood supporters blocked the sidewalk, linking arms to impede the progress of the pro-life advocates. To skirt the blockade of yelling leftists, D.C. Police officers escorted the procession into the middle of the street and guided it all the way to the abortion facility some twelve blocks away.
Marching to Planned Parenthood
Then, pro-abortion activists got more aggressive. They started hurling themselves into the pro-lifers, physically blocking their progress at every intersection. The police intervened. They covered the front, sides, and rear of the pro-lifers marching and staved off the furious and uncontrollable mob, which refused to obey orders issued by police authorities.
The scenario repeated itself at almost every block: Planned Parenthood supporters blocked the street. Police would break through. Pro-lifers pass. Repeat.
In addition to the blockades, abortion activists stole and ripped up pro-life signs, tried to trip and kick the older ladies, and physically aggressed the police who were trying to keep order. While one of the policeman tried to call for backup, a counter-protester knocked the walkie-talkie out of his hand.
"Protesters blocked every intersection, pushed, tried to grab the banner," said Julia Haag, a pro-life marcher, "and one stuck out his leg to trip us a couple times."
Rev. Patrick Mahoney added: "If it were not for a courageous police presence, we never would have gotten to our prayer vigil and most likely would have been assaulted in a greater way than we were."
Prayerful Smiles vs. Uncontrollable Rage
The contrast couldn’t be more vivid. On one side, the pro-lifers were in high spirits, smiling, praying, and determined to march, all the while being verbally and physically bombarded by Planned Parenthood supporters who insisted on using lawlessness, profanity and aggressive behavior.
Pro-abortion activists shouted:
“Not the Church, not the State, women must control their fate.”
“My body, my choice!”
“F--- the Police!”
Pro-lifers sang God Bless America and responded:
“A child is a blessing, not a disease.”
“If it was your body, it would be suicide!”
Amid the shouts and music, some locals came out of their houses to see the spectacle. While some brandished the middle finger and yelled a few unintelligible remarks, others showed effusive support.
Finally, thanks to police protection, the march arrived at the Planned Parenthood facility and law enforcement officers secured the area, keeping the angry mob of pro-abortion agitators at bay. The Washington D.C. Police force was extremely helpful in guiding and protecting the Defund Planned Parenthood Protest. Their professionalism and honorable conduct deserve respect and recognition. With their help, order was maintained and the pro-abortion activists were unsuccessful in their attempts to disrupt the event.
In the end, the march and rally proved successful for the pro-life movement. In spite of the aggressive tactics of the pro-abortion advocates, the spirit and determination of the pro-lifers were undaunted and reinforced.
"It felt as if we were marching into the teeth of the enemy," remarked Fr. Imbarrato. "But the enemy was not the human barricades. The enemy was Satan who was manic yesterday because we were marching to end his sacrament of child sacrifice. Our weapons were peaceful song and prayer as we marched for Jesus' babies. The police took care of our physical safety and the human barricades. Our Lord and His Mother, Our Lady of Lourdes, protected us spiritually."