Courthouse Plaza Tuesday flared in the midday heat and fiery chants of a crowd that assembled in downtown Lexington to oppose Planned Parenthood and abortion.
As many as 200 adults, college students and children gathered for the spirited "#WomenBetrayed Rally," in which several speakers campaigned for an end to federal funding for Planned Parenthood and for a criminal investigation of the organization.
The speakers referred to recent videos released by the anti-abortion Center for Medical Progress, an organization of "citizen journalists ... concerned about contemporary bioethical issues that impact human dignity," according to the group's website.
The secretly taped videos show Planned Parenthood officials discussing procedures for obtaining fetal tissue for research.
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Planned Parenthood has said it did nothing illegal or improper, and that the videos were edited to make the comments misleading. It receives more than $500 million annually in government aid, including some from states. Federal funds cannot be used for abortions except for pregnancies involving rape, incest or where the mother's life is in danger.
Alejandro Capote, regional coordinator of Students for Life of America, said at the rally: "We're calling on the Commonwealth to investigate Planned Parenthood and abortion."
Capote added that "women are not for sale, and the Commonwealth needs to hear that."
Similar rallies occurred in 65 other cities in the U.S., Capote said.
Speakers called for the state to investigate Planned Parenthood on the legality and ethicality of "selling and dismembering human bodies."
"If we cannot view babies as humans, we are in a truly dark place," said Jenean Hampton, Republican candidate for lieutenant governor.
Hampton spoke on her opposition to the "unforgiveable" federal funding of Planned Parenthood, which she said lies to women that abortion is their only choice when dealing with unwanted pregnancy.
Savannah Merlin, an Eastern Kentucky University student, encouraged those her age to stand up to end abortion.
"My generation is going to abolish this," she said. "We're craving morality."
Kate Collins, a junior at the University of Kentucky, stood on the fringes of the rally as the lone supporter of Planned Parenthood. She noticed the hashtag "womenbetrayed" trending on Twitter and wanted at least one voice supporting Planned Parenthood at the Lexington rally.
"It provides health care for low-income women and it's only going to hurt them if it's defunded," Collins said.
Hampton encouraged attendees to pray for women who had abortions, their babies and for Kentucky to remove abortion clinics.
"Pray like you've never prayed before," she said.