The Planned Parenthood Counter Protest Is On? Off?

I have been following this story for some time, and the one thing that jumps out to me is this: It’s confusing. The counter protest was (is?) scheduled for this Saturday, but that event was cancelled by the organizers on Facebook.

Counter Protest for Planned Parenthood – Wilmington, De

This event was canceled
You cannot share this event, but you can still post.

This post was accompanied by an explanation by Ruth Lytle-Barnaby, CEO PP of Delaware:

Hi Everyone, I am the CEO for Planned Parenthood of Delaware. I just learned about the counter protest and have a favor to ask. I am asking you to not counterprotest on Feb 11th and here is why. First and most important, is for your safety. You might know yourself as a non-violent person. What you do not know is if someone protesting opposite from you when challenged is also non-violent. At Planned Parenthood we have a non-engagement policy. We do this because we do not want to give voice or media attention to the anti narrative. You can get media attention to counter protest, however, so will they. If you are willing, I am happy to organize a Pink out day at each of our clinics (Wilmington, Newark and Dover) for the day before their protest. I would love to see hundreds of people supporting Planned Parenthood of Delaware all wearing Pink. We can have a place for all of you to share your stories and support for PPDE, we even have a Clergy for Choice group that can come and share a blessing. I am happy to give some shirts, buttons, signs, or whatever you need. I will work to get media coverage for this if you all are interested. Please know that I am so encouraged by all of your support. We will need every bit of it to survive this political atmosphere. If you want to get involved, call me 302-655-7260.

Then this popped up on my FB feed:

Pink Out Planned Parenthood of Delaware

Pink out Planned Parenthood on Friday February 10th!

We will meet at noon outside the Wilmington Health Center to stand together in support of Planned Parenthood of Delaware and the essential services they provide to our Delaware community.

Wear pink if you have it- we will also have t-shirts, buttons, and signs here to share.

See you Friday!

*This event has been organized by Planned Parenthood of Delaware for both staff and supporters.

What’s a protester to do? Jason330 asks the same question: So, do you counter-protest or “stand with” planned parenthood in some less confrontational way?

I’m conflicted. I completely understand where PP is coming from. They’d like all protests to go away so they can just do their job. They also do not want a violent confrontation – and if you do plan to counter protest on Saturday, you had better keep yourself in line, or you will become the story and hurt the cause you believe in.

That said, I also understand the desire to show up on Saturday. PP may have to distance themselves, but that doesn’t mean citizens have to sit on the sidelines. A quick read up on non-violent confrontation might be in order. So, if you’re planning on showing up on Saturday and are rehearsing your zingers for anti-abortionists you might need to step back and ask yourself… Am I here to show support for Planned Parenthood or to score points against people who won’t listen to a word I say?

The first rule of this counter protest should be: Do no harm.




6 comments on “The Planned Parenthood Counter Protest Is On? Off?

  1. RE Vanella

    The Pink Out event was hastily planned by PP because of political concerns after they caught wind of the counter demonstration. This is their way of driving people to the Friday event rather than Saturday.

    The organization has commandeered the group.

    Everyone should act in accordance with their own conscience. I’ll be there Saturday.

    • Look, I’m fine with people attending on Saturday, but I also understand where PP is coming from. They have to protect themselves, and if a counter protest (sponsored by them) results in violence then they’ll be held (wrongly, imo) responsible. And the press coverage will be non-stop and brutal. People who attend on Saturday better be prepared to resist provocation – because the anti-abortionists would love to video PP supporters behaving badly.

      Commandeering seems like a strong term. Everyone is on the same side.

  2. RE Vanella

    Also, I do agree with Pandora. If you do decide to turn up Saturday and stand with us please be ready to be cool. I understand PP’s position between the hard place and the rock. Don’t do anything stupid.

    Just demonstrate. Stand up. Don’t be cowered. Be proud of your ideas. Don’t hide.

  3. RE Vanella

    Without getting into the dirty details, I’m aware of my word choice and it was chosen with appropriate care.

    I think you know where I’m coming from. I understand the PP organization needs to stand mute and not sponsor an event that could be confrontational. They are not our adversary. True that.

    So, in my view, I’d appreciate it if they silently stepped aside then. I’ll be there Saturday.

      1. I’m 100% okay with Saturday’s protest
      2. They are coming from a place that says: If there’s violence at this rally, we can’t have sponsored it.
      3. Counter-protesters do not need PP’s sponsorship to counter-protest

      If PP feels the need to distance its organization from the counter-protest, I completely understand. If counter-protesters feel the need to show up on Saturday, I completely understand.

      My advice: Stop focusing on what PP is doing and organize for Saturday. Is someone in charge of Saturday’s event?

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