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Protesting ‘egregious evil'

More than 300 turn out in Kendall to join nationwide protest of Planned Parenthood

This is one of two articles on protests in Miami-Dade and Broward counties urging the defunding of Planned Parenthood. Similar protests took place nationwide Aug. 22. Cardinal Sean O'Malley, chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities, recently urged the Senate to pass such a bill and reallocate the money to health care providers that do not promote abortion.

KENDALL | About 300 protestors lined the sidewalk along Kendall Drive and 114th Ave. Aug. 22 bearing signs that denounced Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider.

Simultaneous protests were taking place across the country (including Broward County) in response to recently released undercover videos that showed Planned Parenthood associates describing the harvesting of fetal tissues from aborted babies and discussing charges for the tissues.

The protest in Miami-Dade County was organized by Catholic Disciples in the Public Square and the Respect Life Pregnancy Help Center of South Dade. 

“It’s an absolute atrocity that Planned Parenthood is doing abortions,” said Father Albert Cioffi, an adjunct professor at St. Thomas University who has doctorates in moral theology and genetics.

Camilla Griffith, 13, prays during the protest.

Photographer: MARLENE QUARONI | FC

Camilla Griffith, 13, prays during the protest.

He spoke after addressing the protestors and leading them in prayer. “And now we hear that they are trafficking with the organs of the unborn babies and they are using a half billion dollars of our tax money to do this. This is at the boiling point.”

As far as the other services Planned Parenthood provides, Father Cioffi said there are plenty of other non-abortion clinics where low-income women can go to get mammograms, pap smears and other health screenings.

“This country has an exuberance of programs to help poor mothers and their children,” he said.

Protestor Bridget McMillan stood on the sidewalk in the sweltering heat praying the rosary.

“I’m praying for an end to abortion,” she said. “It may be hot here, but it’s hotter in hell. God forgives but God’s justice is perfect.”

The protesters carried signs that said, “Defund Planned Parenthood,” “Planned Parenthood = death and evil for money,” and “Born to love: Heartbeat 18 days from conception.” They waved at passing motorists. Many of them honked their horns in favor of the protestors. There also were some who disagreed.

“Some people in passing cars had choice words for us, but I don’t mind the insults,” said August Provedor, who wore a baseball cap that said “#1 Grandfather.”

“I’m here because I’m a father, a grandfather and a practicing Catholic. This is my advocacy for life,” Provedor said.

Former Homestead Mayor and Miami Dade County Commissioner Lynda Bell addressed the protestors as the morning protest drew to a close.

“What’s going on at Planned Parenthood is an egregious evil,” she said. “What kind of country have we become? They say that a small percentage of their services are abortion, but the Washington Post newspaper gave Planned Parenthood three Pinocchio noses on that statement. Let’s not take the money away from helping needy women, instead we should put that money into clinics that don’t perform abortions.”

In a statement responding to the secretly recorded videos, Laura Goodhue, executive director of the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, said their clinics in Florida do not have a program for patients who want to donate aborted fetal tissue. “However, Planned Parenthood organizations in other states do and they follow all laws and ethical guidelines.” 

The videos, recorded and released by the Center for Medical Progress, showed images of aborted fetuses and conversations with Planned Parenthood officials. At one point, a Planned Parenthood medical assistant looking through the aborted remains is heard exclaiming, “It’s another boy!”

At the Saturday protest in Kendall, Thomas Cruz Wiggins wore a blue T-shirt that said “All Life is Precious, Choose Life.” A large wooden cross, with three more crosses attached, also hung around his neck. He said the crosses represented Jesus and the two criminals crucified with him.

Wiggins, who ran for the United States Congress, Florida District 27 in 2012, said he regrets a decision he and his girlfriend made when they were teenagers.

“My girlfriend, who later became my wife, had an abortion,” he said. “It was a mutual decision. I was a Protestant at the time and later became a Catholic. That abortion is an ache in my heart.”

Wiggins has three children: one is a pediatrician, another a film producer and the third is in high school. He has become a regular at abortion protests.

Hundreds of people protested against Planned Parenthood outside one of their clinics in Kendall, Saturday, Aug. 22, as part of nationwide revulsion to undercover videos put out by Center for Medical Progress. The videos show Planned Parenthood officials describing the harvesting of fetal tissues from aborted babies and discussing charges for the tissues.

Photographer: MARLENE QUARONI | FC

Hundreds of people protested against Planned Parenthood outside one of their clinics in Kendall, Saturday, Aug. 22, as part of nationwide revulsion to undercover videos put out by Center for Medical Progress. The videos show Planned Parenthood officials describing the harvesting of fetal tissues from aborted babies and discussing charges for the tissues.