By Melissa Garcia
DENVER, Colo. (CBS4) – Abortion activists gathered for multiple rallies in Denver Saturday as a result of congressional efforts to defund Planned Parenthood.
The rallies and counter-rallies were part of planned protests across the country on both sides of the issue.
Hundreds stood holding signs outside the office of Sen. Cory Gardner, urging him not to support the defunding of Planned Parenthood. Organizers said that doing so would deny essential health care to hundreds of thousands of men and women throughout the United States.
Kate, a Colorado mother, stood at the rally in support of Planned Parenthood.
“(I’m) fighting for this one’s future first of all,” she said, of her daughter by her side. “But also, (Planned Parenthood) prevented me from having teen pregnancies.”
Earlier Saturday, tensions rose during dueling rallies at Planned Parenthood’s main location on 38th near Quebec, where abortions are performed.
Pro-life demonstrators prayed for abortion to end, as pro-choice demonstrators chanted in defense of women’s rights.
“Our bodies, our choice,” the group chanted in unison.
“The fact of the matter is, abortion is my choice,” said Christin Cope-Hill, a pro-choice advocate. “And if that’s what I choose, I should be able to do it.”
Pro-life advocates were calling for Congress to strip Planned Parenthood of all federal funding.
“(Planned Parenthood) funds cancer screenings, STD checks, and everything else,” Cope-Hill said. “And if they want to take that away from women in need, that seems incredibly cruel to me … then they should also repeal Medicaid and Medicare and other programs that keep people healthy.”
Students for Life demonstrators said say that the funds taken from Planned Parenthood would be redirected to health centers that do not perform abortions.
“There are other resources and other places our money can be better spent, which is Federal Qualified Health Centers, that outnumber Planned Parenthoods 20 to 1, who provide holistic care for men and women, low or no cost, sliding scale,” said Bethany Janzen, Rocky Mountain Regional Coordinator at Students for Life.
Other pro-life demonstrators, like Susan Sutherland with Colorado Right to Life, said that defunding Planned Parenthood would not accomplish the greater goal.
“Planned Parenthood could be defunded today, and they’ll have plenty of funds,” Sutherland said. “They’ll have any number of people who’ll step in and fund them … we need to abolish (abortion), because it is the murder of innocent children.”
Protesters rallying outside Gardner’s office were also writing letters to the senator pledging their support for Planned Parenthood.