Abortion protestors rally at Planned Parenthood

It took more than brisk temperatures, counter-protestors and even a minor brush with the police to deter anti-abortion activists from their annual vigil Saturday in front of the downtown Planned Parenthood location.

Citizens for a Pro-life Society-Wisconsin sponsored its annual Milwaukee Rally for Life — "Protesting the Horrors of Roe v. Wade" — with a crowd of about 75 people waving signs, singing hymns and listening to speeches in front of the Planned Parenthood site at 302 N. Jackson St.

"We're going to put Planned Parenthood out of business! Amen!" Peggy Hamill, Pro-Life Wisconsin state director, cried above the occasional grinding rumble of trucks passing overhead on the nearby Marquette Interchange.

As exhaust fumes from trucks idling nearby at the Salvation Army depot whipped by the protesters, a series of priests, anti-abortion activists and legislators railed against what they called the evils of abortion.

"Each of us is a unique, irreplaceable masterpiece of creation. We pray for our world which is in many ways sick. We pray that each of us may realize his own dignity," said Don Hying, a priest with St. Francis Seminary in St. Francis, Wis., who also called abortion "the greatest of travesties, the greatest of sins."

Continuing his theme relating humans to masterpieces, Hying compared abortion to the hypothetical defacing of Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel paintings and the actual vandalization of Michelangelo's Pieta, the statue of the Virgin Mary holding Jesus after his crucifixion.

Abortion "is like someone saying 'This beauty must be stopped. This miracle must be crushed,'" he said.

State Sen. Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend), who called Planned Parenthood "pretty much the most evil organization out there," urged those in attendance to encourage their churches to step up the protesting of Milwaukee abortion clinics.

"I wish every church and parish would take the time to have someone here all the time praying and counseling," Grothman said. "Every day, every hour, we'd have someone here reminding women of the other options to consider."

State Sen. Mary Lazich (R -New Berlin) echoed Grothman's statement.

"I want to echo that challenge Glenn gave you," she said. "If we could have people here 24-7, that'd be great."

At least seven people wearing bright pink "Planned Parenthood Escort" T-shirts stood across the street from the protest and formed a conduit through the crowd to escort patrons to the doors. Over the roughly hour and a half protest, two women walked in and a young man and woman couple walked out.

"You can't regret it if you don't do it!" one female protestor called to the young woman entering the building, but other than that, the protest was conflict-free.

"Good day to be alive!" an elderly male protester yelled to the couple.

A police cruiser circled the protest twice and stopped the second time to tell protesters to re-park their cars, which were on the wrong side of the street and were blocking the building's freight entrance.