A small crowd gathered in front of Planned Parenthood on Southland Drive in Lexington on Saturday morning for opposing rallies.
About 20 people, including some children, lined the sidewalk for a Defund Planned Parenthood rally, while about half a dozen counter-protesters came out to show their support for the organization.
“I feel like it’s important to speak up for those that are victims of abortion,” said Judith Lund, who held a tiny model of a 12-week-old fetus. “That kind of helps me to keep in mind those who have been killed.”
Other protesters carried signs that said “Stop Abortion Now” and “Planned Parenthood Lies to You.”
Joanne Brown was part of the opposing group, which stood in a median a few yards away.
She said she was inspired to become a nurse practitioner focusing on women’s health by a nurse practitioner who “provided kind, compassionate care and was a wonderful role model” to her at a Planned Parenthood facility when she was 19. She said the organization was a source of “contraceptives, education and preventive care.”
“That’s what Planned Parenthood does,” she said. “I came out today to defend Planned Parenthood and show my support.”
The local Planned Parenthood office, which was not open during the rallies on Saturday, does not provide abortions.
But, said Katherine Self, who stood in favor of defunding, “they certainly refer for abortion.”
“They’re primarily abortion providers,” she said. “People around here probably don’t even realize Planned Parenthood is here. It brings awareness, if nothing else.”
Hundreds of such rallies were planned across the country Saturday.
President Donald Trump last month banned federal funding to international groups that perform abortions or provide information about abortions. His newly confirmed health secretary, Tom Price, has supported cutting off federal money to Planned Parenthood.
Federal dollars don’t pay for abortions, but the organization is reimbursed by Medicaid for other services, including birth control and cancer screening.