Back in the early days of the March for Life, the National Park Service used to issue official estimates of crowd size for any demonstration.
Crowd estimates were always contested because the size of a crowd was a measure of the urgency/validity/resonance of an issue. Eventually the Park Service stopped issuing them for any event.
I don’t know whether the police in other cities make official estimates of crowd sizes or not. So there may never be an “official” record of the turnout last Saturday, October 10, for the #ProtestPP demonstrations in 300 locations around the country—plus one in Ireland.
It was the last three-day weekend before winter weather moves in on much of the country, and many reporters no doubt took the day off—if they could. So there wasn’t much coverage of the demonstrations in the conventional media.
This doesn’t mean the world doesn’t know about events on October 10. It just means the methods of communication are different.
The title of the coordinated demonstrations gives the clue: #ProtestPP and #PPSellsBabyParts. The hashtag (#) tells you where you have to go to learn about them: the Internet, Twitter and Facebook.
For a week, a giant pink busload of pro-life advocates had been traveling around the country, visiting and holding rallies on 80 college campuses. Big signs on the side of the bus could be read at 70 miles an hour: “Don’t Fund Planned Parenthood.”
As days passed, people signed their names to those signs. People who didn’t live in a town visited by the bus signed too—Students for Life created a webpage where people could virtually sign the bus.
Other signs on the side of the bus could be read at 40 miles an hour: “Planned Parenthood Sells the Body Parts of Aborted Babies.” And “Planned Parenthood Gets $500 Million a Year from Taxpayers.”
It was hard to miss the message. Imagine a very pink bus barreling down interstates and through towns for a week. Think of the number of people who couldn’t help seeing its slogans.
Some local papers covered the bus tour. But if you want to know more, you have to go to one of several Facebook pages: here or here. Or go to Twitter and search #ProtestPP or #PPSellsBabyParts. That’s where you’ll find reports like these:
- Manchester, NH: 45 turned out.
- Eighty pro-life Oregonians stood for life at Eugene’s #ProtestPP.
- A great turnout today at #ProtestPP rally in Pasadena, CA.
- Twelve Illinois locations.
You’ll find lots of pictures, with signs you’ve never seen:
- “It’s easy to be corrupt when you kill for a living,” with the “p” in “corrupt” being the Planned Parenthood leaf.
- “Our Liberation Can Not Be Bought with Our Children’s Blood.”
At one demonstration there was a banner ad for Chicago’s Aid for Women that read “Where unborn babies are valued for more than their body parts.”
I’d never seen a pregnancy resource center be so public at a demonstration before. It may be because pregnancy resource centers have had a sudden upsurge in calls and visits from post-abortive women whose regret is accentuated by the fear that their child may have been carved up and sold.
The word is getting out about what goes on inside Planned Parenthood (or Planned Profithood, as Brian Burch of CatholicVote calls it) clinics. Pink buses and demonstrations in 300 cities around the country will be noticed by average Americans.
Planned Parenthood is worried. They wouldn’t have issued the announcement this week that they’re not going to sell baby parts any more if they weren’t feeling pain.
Planned Parenthood, be more worried. Think of the millions of post-abortive women who will no longer like you. Who will, in fact, dislike you with an intensity you cannot imagine.
And thank God for the caring ministries of the pro-life movement. Think of the millions of women who, as they learn that Planned Parenthood sells baby parts, will now come forward to resolve their guilt and shame—and be liberated.
Love that pink bus. Let it inspire all of us to have a conversation this week with somebody new!
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Connie Marshner is a commentator and researcher on life and family issues in the Washington, D.C., area.