Dozens rally against abortion services in Waco

Posted at 3:06 PM, Dec 19, 2017
and last updated 2018-07-24 21:31:18-04

On Tuesday, dozens braved the weather to rally against abortions being performed at a new Planned Parenthood facility in Waco.

Pro-life supporters stood outside the Audre Rapoport Planned Parenthood Health Center located on the 700 block of Hwy 6 to hear from different speakers who encourage them to continue speaking against abortion.

Abby Johnson, a former clinic director of a Planned Parenthood in Bryan who is now a pro-life advocate, was the lead speaker at the event.

The mother of seven said she wanted to spread awareness and help energize pro-life supporters.

"One day my prayer is that we will be united on this side of the fence, helping women in a real compassionate way,” Johnson said.

According to Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, it is already helping the community in a compassionate way, serving more than 85,000 Texans each year. Some of them, don't have health insurance. 

Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas Director of Development and Community Affairs Stephanie Mabry said the new center allows them to provide from family planning to surgical abortion.

“The statistics show that one in five women has been at a Planned Parenthood in one time or another in her lifetime and we are thrilled to be able to open our doors to women and men so they can have access to full reproductive healthcare,” Mabry said.

She added some of those services include annual exams, rapid HIV testing, cervical cancer screening, diagnosis and treatment.

When Central Texas News Now went to the health center on Tuesday, volunteers were packing period kits, which included feminine products and materials about Planned Parenthood, which the organization gives out to community members at events for free.

Planned Parenthood did not comment on the protest or the motive behind it.

"That's not something that I'm able to speak to as far as what the protesters have planned. What I can speak to is the services that were provided and the patients' response, which has been positive feedback and to their experience of coming inside our doors,” Mabry said.

Johnson who hopes women who are considering abortion told advocates they must continue talking to them before they go into the facility.

"As a mother of seven kids, I know motherhood is hard, it's tough," Johnson said. "We want to tell women going in there is a support network of people out here. That we are going to be here for them for better or worse.”

Pro-life Waco Director John Pisciotta said the group will keep spreading their anti-abortion message in front of the facility and around Waco. 

"I would like to see a real clinic, a real general medical practice here, that doesn't need to hide, that doesn't need an 8-foot fence in front of them so that's what I want is for this to be a city where there is no abortions and no Planned Parenthood,” Pisciotta said.

Planned Parenthood in Waco used to be located on Ross Avenue before the new facility opened last month.

When it did, the organization stated the health center was built to meet the growing need for high-quality and affordable healthcare in Central Texas. 

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