They Came, They Saw, They Protested....A Not-Yet-Opened Planned Parenthood Office

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Photos by Paul Knight

The enormous crowd in the parking lot of the Catholic Charismatic Center, just south of downtown, began to thin out at about noon as people headed for the streets, or school buses, to make their way across I-45 to protest the opening of a Planned Parenthood clinic (it hasn't opened yet), a place some pro-lifers call an abortion supercenter.

A surprisingly large number of young people were at the protest, and Hair Balls approached a group of teens standing in line for a bus, to ask them why they were spending a day protesting abortion.

"It's what we believe in," said a teenager who had driven in from The Woodlands. He didn't want his name printed or his picture taken. "I'm going to stand up for what I believe in."

Another teen, who said his name was Ken (pictured at the top of this post), added, "If you don't, what's the point of believing in something? It's basically making it legal to murder."

The Planned Parenthood clinic that sparked the protest is set to open this spring, and the new building will more than double the size of the current facility at 3601 Fannin St., making it the largest Planned Parenthood building in the country. The clinic plans to perform about 20 abortions a week.

About an hour after the protesters started marching to the site, not many had made it.

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The problems started near the parking lot of a Macy's warehouse store, where the buses dropped off groups and other people marched from what seemed like all directions. Along with cars trying to drive through the area, there was a bottleneck of protesters who just had to stand around and wait.

The small group that had made it to the Planned Parenthood building stood in a line in front of its gate along the I-45 feeder road. A few people waved signs at passing cars, but most faced the building with hands raised and heads bowed. 

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John and Lee Ann Parks (pictured above) made the trip from Magnolia. A couple weeks ago, John said, a dance group visited their church -- Freedom Fellowship -- and encouraged them to go to the protest, so they joined a large caravan of people and came down.

"It's important to us because there's been a downturn in understanding, along with what's happening in our government, so we thought we needed to make a stand. Life is important," John said. "It's not so much a protest, but more of a prayer movement. We're not angry at anyone."

His wife Lee Ann added that they put red tape over their mouths with the words "Life" and "Vida" written on it -- popular with the anti-abortion crowd -- to symbolize the silent screams of aborted babies.

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