Most days, people like Chris Lopez and Ron Aguiar silently protest outside the Denver Planned Parenthood.
They assemble on the side street of the large brick building. The building is shrouded in vine-covered iron gates and chain-link fences. In the windows of its second floor, “Black Lives Matter” is prominently displayed.
The people who hold vigils outside the abortion clinic comes from many different churches and groups. Some days they have larger turnouts than others.
Saturday was especially active, with a group of people praying with a priest across the street from Planned Parenthood. Up and down the street stuffed animals sat in folding chairs holding signs about saving babies.
Some of the signs show a fetus. It’s not imagery that makes people comfortable.
Vigils outside Planned Parenthood getting larger
This reporter lives around the corner from Planned Parenthood and walks the area every day. In recent weeks, I have noticed a spike in the number of protesters and the frequency of their vigils.
This could be the work of 40 Days for Life 365, “the beginning of the end of abortion,” as the campaign calls itself.
In Denver, the campaign launched in August. The goal was to maintain vigils outside Denver’s Planned Parenthood for at least 40 days. Volunteers have continued to host vigils beyond the 40 days.
“Each day 15-20 lives are taken here in Denver at the nation’s second largest abortion clinic,” Denver Prays for Life reports on its website. “In response, faithful Christians desire a grassroots effort to record of all the wonderful efforts in Denver to pray for an end to abortion and to raise awareness of what you can do to get involved.”
People can sign up online to participate in a prayer vigil outside Planned Parenthood. An online dashboard shows which days are partially covered.
Protesters offend clients
For many women entering the facility to have an abortion, the protesters impact their mental health. Planned Parenthood of Northern, Central and Southern New Jersey explains on its website how clients can manage the protesters.
“They can carry signs and approach you to offer you pamphlets or try to talk to you,” according to the website. “They are not allowed to touch you or block your way into the health center. You do not have to talk to them or take their literature. The safest strategy is to ignore them.
“As long as the protesters do not break the law, they have a right to protest. We monitor the protesters carefully and are in regular contact with law enforcement. If you feel a protester has acted inappropriately, please let us know immediately.”