There is still only one clinic in Missouri, Reproductive Health Services in St. Louis — where surgical abortions are performed. Nevertheless, anti-abortion protesters rarely miss a day to kneel and pray while holding rosary beads and “pray to end abortion” signs in front of the Planned Parenthood in Columbia, Mo. — a clinic that does NOT provide abortion. It’s difficult to know if the religious zealots who show up do it for practice, or if they really believe the only reason to go to any Planned Parenthood is to learn about or get an abortion. It’s very odd. Regardless of why they choose this particular location, they really amp up their visibility during the fall and spring when they have their 40 Days for Life campaign – a campaign largely centered on visibility events in the form of prayer vigils outside of abortion providing clinics that typically service poorer populations. In 2017, their fall campaign ran from September 27 to November 5, with an opening rally the night of September 26.
Our reaction was one for the history books …
There’s a local group of activists called the Guild of Silly Heathens (follow them on the Twitters) who have been counter-protesting anti-abortion protesters at the Planned Parenthood in Columbia since spring 2015. This time we joined in and after engaging in the planning and execution of these counter-protests, I can honestly say the only thing better than counter-protesting religious zealots is doing it in costume while holding humorous signs. Check out photos from our actions below … and remember kids, access to safe and legal abortions is mandatory for women’s health and best served without unnecessary stigma.