Pro-life supporters find hope in TrumpBOCA RATON —
Protests outside the Planned Parenthood in Boca Raton have been held for years, but on Saturday morning veteran pro-life advocates say they came way with a new feeling: Hope.
Genny Gorman, of Deerfield Beach, said last summer she went to a pro-life rally in Washington, D.C.
"We didn't have much hope then. But we have hope now," she said, referring to President Donald Trump's executive order to cut funding to overseas clinics that talked about abortion.
About 160 protesters total were on both sides of Glades Road at one point in the morning. Saturday's protest was organized by Willy Guardiola, who is president of the Palm Beach County Right to Life League. Guardiola, of Palm Beach Gardens, said he also felt hope with Trump in office.
"We've got a pro-life president," he said.
Guardiola's shirt had "Not with my tax dollar$" written on the back. He acknowledged the existence of the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits nearly all federal funding of abortions, but declined to say why he felt his tax money was funding abortions.
Palm Beach County Republican Party Chairman Michael Barnett said with Trump in the White House, a Republican Congress and a new appointment ahead on the Supreme Court, he feels there may be a sea change coming.
"I don't think we've ever seen that level of support before," said Barnett.
Laura Goodhue, executive director of Florida Allance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, said the clinics are receiving tax money only as direct payment for specific Medicaid-backed services, such as breast exams, Pap smears, contraception and sexually transmitted infection testing. She also sees a resurgence of support — in this case, for Planned Parenthood.
"We're going to continue fighting with our supporters and keep our doors open," she said in a telephone interview. "We've gained 5,000 supporters in Florida in the past six weeks."
The organization has already fended off attacks over its funding for services, including a bill signed by Florida Gov. Rick Scott. If Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood is banned, Goodhue said, poor people will lose access to health care, leading to more unwanted babies and less preventative care.
"This is a moment in time, but this is a long-term movement, but I know Planned Parenthood supporters aren't backing down. I'm hopeful, but perhaps for a different reason," Goodhue said.
On Glades Road, Alice-Marie Dill of Highland Beach, a retired Massachusetts nurse and a member of St. Lucy Catholic Church, said the stakes are high. She said she is optimistic abortion will be quashed not only because of changes in national politics, but because more young people seem to be getting involved in the pro-life movement. She pointed to Canadian youths who joined in Saturday's protest.
"I'm just hoping that all these babies could live," she said.
Down the sidewalk, 17-year-old Keturah Thomson of Windsor, Canada, was in the midst of a week of activism. "We're here to advocate for the preborn," she said. She said she's encouraged by changes she's seen in American politics.
Not far away, Emmanuel and Rita Okwor were praying aloud in their first pro-life protest.
He said he was praying to end abortion. She said, "We believe every child has a right to life."