close

Planned Parenthoood opens amid protest in Ferndale (Oakland Press)

Published April 2, 2012, by The Oakland Press.

By Catherine Kavanaugh.

Oakland Press Logo

 

 

 

Published: 04.02.12| Updated: 04.04.12

FERNDALE – With rosaries and huge photos of weeks-old fetuses in hand, dozens of protestors gathered today outside Planned Parenthood on its opening day.

One man held a sign that read “Take my hand, not my life” as he prayed out loud in front of Oakland County’s first Planned Parenthood facility at 22338 Woodward.

Mary Ann Pryce of Garden City wore a placard that says “abortion is not health care” on one side and shows an 8-week-old fetus on the other.

“There are people who say the mother has a choice but what really is the choice,” Pryce said. “The choice is between life and death for her baby. Abortion is taking the life of an unborn child.”

About three dozen protesters, including some teens from Sterling Heights, lined the street in front of the 17th Planned Parenthood facility serving central and lower Michigan. They waved signs, sang and chanted from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

They will be back, said Monica Migliorino Miller, founder of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, which organized the protest.

Planned Parenthood officials have said no abortions will be done at the Ferndale facility but Miller said women will be given referrals to end their pregnancies elsewhere.

“They have made their encroachment so to speak into Oakland County and abortion may not be far behind. I’m very concerned about that,” Miller said of Planned Parenthood.

Inside the health center, workers put the finishing decorative touches on the waiting room. No appointments were scheduled in case of a protest. Last year, 68,635 patients went to the agency’s 16 health centers for mostly birth control (215,805 cycles), tests for sexually transmitted diseases (58,166), pregnancy tests and options counseling (22,793), breast exams (17,376) and pap tests (14,641), according to the organization’s 2011 statistics.

“Ninety-seven percent of what we do is to prevent the other 3 percent of what we do,” said Lori Lamerand, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Mid and South Michigan.

The non-profit group’s mission is to offer reproductive health care on a sliding-fee scale for men and women in addition to education and advocacy. The mission statement also says, “We believe each person should be free to decide when and whether to be a parent so that every child is wanted and loved.”

Four of the now 17 Planned Parenthood centers perform abortions but Lamerand reiterated that Ferndale will not.

“This center won’t offer abortion services,” she said. “It will be primarily a family planning and well women’s gynecological center. That’s overwhelmingly what we do and without it 70 percent of our patients would have no other access to that health care.”

Two of the four facilities where Planned Parenthood performs abortions are protested regularly.

“We’re proud we offer women a safe and appropriate place to terminate a pregnancy if that’s what she chooses, but we do more every day to prevent that than these folks will ever do,” Lamerand said, referring to the protestors outside.

Miller described abortion as “the most important social issue of our day.”

“This is a cultural war that we are in and that’s why we are here,” she said. “To shine a light on this facility that disrespects the sanctity of life. This is a cultural issue, a moral issue, a civil rights issue. Any organization that disrespects life should not be welcomed and that’s why we’re here.”

The protest followed warm receptions last week from city officials. Oakland County Commissioner Craig Covey (D-Ferndale) issued a welcome statement for the non-profit organization and said he is “so proud” Ferndale is home to the only Planned Parenthood clinic in the county.

Mayor David Coulter said Ferndale has a lot of experience with protests on Woodward. The Raging Grannies used to urge drivers to honk their horns if they opposed the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and supporters of the Occupy Movement staged a rally last fall.

“We’ve gotten good at managing crowds and protecting free speech,” Coulter said. “The difference is this is a conservative cause vs. a liberal cause but from a law enforcement perspective there is no difference. Everyone is equally allowed to voice their opinions. As long as they abide by the rules of the city their rights will be protected.”

 

Find A Health Center

or

Search