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Pro-life advocates rally, question Planned Parenthood practices

Posted at 10:26 PM, Aug 22, 2015

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Hundreds rallied outside three West Michigan Planned Parenthood locations Saturday afternoon.

Pro-life activists said they were taking a stand on a controversial issue affecting people nationwide.

The protests come after the Center for Medical Progress released eight undercover videos speaking out against Planned Parenthood, but it's what they're suggesting in those videos that sparked the protests Saturday.

"Today is a day of protest against what is happening to babies who can’t think for themselves," said Mark Gurley, the Director of Michigan Oak Initiative.

More than 400 people protested to raise awareness of Planned Parenthood and what they claim are 'gruesome' practices.

Rallies were held at Planned Parenthood's Grand Rapids, Wyoming and Byron Center locations Saturday.

"This really betrays me as a woman that Planned Parenthood, an organization that so many women have trusted, are now cutting up their babies and selling their baby parts for more money," Mary Joe Thayer, a Grand Rapids Right to Life board member.

That's what pro-life activists and so many others believe is happening inside Planned Parenthood locations across the state.

"They’re here in peaceful protest to bring awareness to what’s actually happening in this country," said Thayer.

Saturday's rallies, here in West Michigan were part of a larger series of protests happening nationwide.

"So that’s why we’re here, to stand for women, to stand for life and just expose Planned Parenthood for what it is," Thayer said.

Protestors making national headlines after the CMP released undercover videos of Planned Parenthood officials discussing the selling and harvesting of fetal tissue, something Planned Parenthood say's isn't true.

"Planned Parenthood of West and Northern Michigan has never participated in any fetal tissue donation programs," said Jim Norton, the Interim President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of West and Northern Michigan

"Planned Parenthood says 'the videos' are highly edited. Go online and watch the whole thing, it’s clear what these doctors are doing and we’re paying for it, half a billion dollars of our tax money every year goes to Planned Parenthood so they continue to make more money," Thayer said.

Saturday's protestors, are now calling on lawmakers to cut federal funding, adding that Planned Parenthood is costing U.S taxpayers an arm and leg, literally.

Planned Parenthood says those funds are spent on things like cancer screenings, exams, birth control and STD testing, but not abortions.

"I’m 100 percent confident that all of our sister affiliates around the country are operating on 100 percent accordance of all laws rules and guidelines," Norton said.

Mark Gurley say's if Planned Parenthood doesn't sell baby parts, they need to prove it.

"Attacks on women’s healthcare are nothing new, but this one really hits a new low. You know, the scale to this is scary, they created a fake company, filed fake tax documents and used fake government I.D’s," Norton said.

Planned Parenthood tells Fox 17 that they were aware of Saturday's protests and chose to let activists rally in peace.