Protesters rallied outside of the Sarasota Planned Parenthood office Saturday.
Passionate protesters on both sides of the spectrum challenged the ongoing controversy, holding signs that read “babies are people too” and “my body my choice.”
Those who are pro-life say it is wrong for Planned Parenthood to perform abortions, and life begins at conception.
“I believe the choice comes from engaging in an activity that can cause a baby,” says one pro-life protester.
On the contrary, pro-choice protesters believe life begins at birth.
One Sarasota protester says, “prior to giving birth, that child is a fetus.”
Christian Ziegler with the Sarasota Republican Party wants to stop taxpayer funded abortions.
“They receive over $500 million in tax dollars. Those are our hard earned tax dollars,” says Ziegler.
The Commission on the Status for Women in Sarasota says this is not true.
“No taxpayer money, no federal money, goes to pay for abortion. What it does go for is to pay for women’s healthcare. One in three women access Planned Parenthood for some sort of healthcare during their lifetime” explains Gini Hyman, past president of the Commission.
One past-patient of Planned Parenthood regrets her decision of having an abortion in the 1980s.
“I’ve suffered tremendously and think about what my child would look like now,” says that woman, named Melissa.
Planned Parenthood offers services for sexually transmitted diseases and women’s preventative health. Some believe those services can be received somewhere else.
“For every one Planned Parenthood, there are 20 comprehensive health care centers for women. So, if we were to eliminate Planned Parenthood, there are still options out there for females,” says a protester against the non-profit.
Hyman says if a patient were to go elsewhere, they would not receive the same, immediate care.
“Do you want to wait two weeks to get in and see them if you have a urinary tract infection? I don’t think so,” says Hyman.
Although Planned Parenthood is known for servicing women, Hyman says the non-profit helps men, women, teens, and adults, quickly and discreetly.
Planned Parenthood’s volunteers were not allowed to comment for interviews at the protest.