Planned Parenthood clinic scene of abortion debate
An anti-abortion group stages its final days of a 40-day vigil while supporters of choice counter its message.
Signs reading "Pray to end abortion" and "Honk 4 choice" mingled with chants and prayers around the facility entrance.
It was the second-to-last day of the spring vigil by local supporters of 40 Days for Life, a national campaign to stop abortion.
"We're not here to protest, but to pray," said local organizer David Graves, 44, of Arlington.
The campaign includes fasting, community outreach and maintaining a presence for 40 consecutive days outside facilities that provide abortions.
Saturday marked the third weekend that members of pro-choice group Seattle Clinic Defense have shown up in Everett to counter the 40 Days for Life campaign.
Shortly after noon, there were about 50 people on each side. Graves, from Atonement Free Lutheran Church, said the local 40 Days group has united about 30 churches for their cause. That's helped them maintain an all-day presence at the Everett Planned Parenthood location at 32nd Street and Hoyt Avenue.
Over the past few weeks, Graves said they have talked four people out of having abortions there, by providing information about free medical services and community support.
"When people find out they can get free ultrasounds, they're pretty excited about that," he said.
A yellow banner for Seattle Clinic Defense showed a red cross-out sign over a coat hanger.
The group's organizers opted to travel to Everett because the 40 Days movement is stronger here than in Seattle, said Elizabeth Fawthrop, 26, of Seattle.
"We came up here where we're more needed," Fawthrop said.
Their goal is to support Planned Parenthood patients and staff.
"We think they're a completely legitimate health-care facility and provide an important service to the community," she said.
The local 40 Days for Life group since 2007 has organized Everett vigils outside Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood operates facilities through the U.S. focusing on reproductive health. One of its main goals is preventing unwanted pregnancies.
The 40 Days vigil is scheduled to end today, on Palm Sunday.
Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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