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Anti-Planned Parenthood protests draw crowds in Meridian, Boise

Hundreds of people stood outside Meridian’s Planned Parenthood clinic Saturday protesting the embattled organization, which provides reproductive health care, including birth control and abortion.

The rally was part of a nationwide event to confront the organization after undercover videos shot by an anti-abortion group showed Planned Parenthood officials discussing the use of fetal tissue for medical research.

Anti-abortion activists have since called on lawmakers to investigate Planned Parenthood for the alleged sale of fetal tissue, which is illegal, and some states are. Idaho Gov. Butch Otter said that because there has been no evidence of illegality in Idaho, he would not pursue an investigation.

It is OK for states to have fetal tissue donation programs as long as several legal and ethical guidelines are followed.

Activists were calling for Planned Parenthood to be defunded Saturday.

“They don’t want to get involved because it’s such a controversial issue and they want to shy away from it,” said Sarah Jimenez, spokesperson for the Meridian rally. “But the fact is, if something is going on, if Planned Parenthood is taking part in illegal practices, then they need to be held accountable, because no one is above the law.”

There were both protesters and counterprotesters at a much smaller rally outside of Boise’s Planned Parenthood facility on Saturday. The Meridian group did not see counterprotesters, and that clinic was closed.

“We believe that it is time for Planned Parenthood to close down and shut their doors because they have exploited the woman and the child,” Jimenez said.

Katie Rogers, a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, said Friday that the organization was aware of the protests but would operate as normal Saturday.

“We’re treating this like every other day. We’re going to keep our doors open and provide health care for those who need us,” Rogers said.

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