By Mariko Wise
People holding signs gathered outside Planned Parenthood in West Chester to protest surgical and chemical abortions. They strive to shut down Planned Parenthood, despite the numerous medical services provided for women in the area, such as cancer screenings.
The abortions performed at Planned Parenthood’s West Chester Health Center on Wednesdays and Thursdays go against the protesters’ Christian beliefs. The protesters, affiliated with Chester County Pro-Life Coalition, face opposition nationally from pro-abortion advocates and locally from the patients of the health center.
The anti-abortion movement equates abortion with murder. Don Everett, anti-abortion protester and pastor, said, “It’s the killing of little children, and it’s definitely against what God has in his 10 Commandments: thou shall not kill.”
Everett said that a fetus is a human being that deserves rights due to the Christian belief that the “soul” is placed into the body, personally by God at conception.
He blamed the use of abortion on declining morality in the United States. Everett believes that modern Americans do not want to sacrifice their material luxuries to have enough money to raise a child. He said the pro-abortion movement justifies the use of abortion through two major lies: a fetus is not a child, and children are too expensive.
The protesters view abortion, including the use of the morning-after pill, as a “black-and-white” issue. Everett said there are no situations that would require the use of abortion, especially since adoption is an option. This view includes an unwanted pregnancy from rape or the possibility of the mother dying during childbirth.
“Jesus sacrificed his life for us, and we are to sacrifice our lives for other people,” said Everett.
The protesters’ absolute view on abortion based on Christian beliefs infuriates pro-abortion advocates and former patients.
Genevieve Ngo, a victim of rape for which she got an abortion at the Planned Parenthood in West Chester, believes that no woman should be forced to have a child.
“The amount of pain and guilt I felt every day, knowing I was carrying that monster’s baby, was indescribable. I couldn’t even imagine having to go through the whole pregnancy. It wasn’t even a question for me,” she said.
Ngo insists that the anti-abortion protesters use God to justify suppressing women’s rights.
“These people are holding the rights of a fetus above women’s rights. I understand protesting third-trimester abortion, but it’s still just a bunch of cells even weeks after conception. If you take God out of the argument, they don’t have a leg to stand on,” said Ngo.
Everett believes that God’s Word should be the only basis for laws on abortion. He added, a political candidate’s stance on abortion is the most significant aspect of their campaign, as it reveals their moral code.
He said, “If he’s willing to kill his flesh and blood, he’s willing to kill you or me.”
The protesters are adamant that, unlike the pro-abortion movement, they do not yell obscenities or harass the other side.
While the anti-abortion protesters held signs and prayed outside the South Wayne Street health center, angry patients and people passing by in cars berated them.
Everett said, “We are all sinners. I am just the same as women going in here and committing murder on their children. But I have repented for my sins, and I am forgiven.”
“The biggest thing here is when these women come out, they have just aborted their child. There are regrets,” he said.
Everett pointed to his wife and said she still thinks of a miscarriage she had 50 years ago.
The anti-abortion protesters give brochures to women leaving Planned Parenthood.
“They can go to Chester County Women’s Services three blocks up and get counseling. So, we’re not only here to stop abortion. We’re here to help the women who come in here,” said Everett.
The debate over abortion is ongoing in the U.S. and locally as well. Anti-abortion protests at the West Chester Planned Parenthood occur every week.
The last arrests at the local health center were in August 2021 when three-out-of-state protesters staged a sit-in.
Editor’s Note: The Communitarian adheres to The Associated Press’ style. In 2017, pro-life was changed to anti-abortion, and pro-choice was changed to pro-abortion.