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Planned Parenthood opponents, supporters square off at future site

Anti-abortion protesters Uptown Anti-abortion protesters Uptown

New Orleans, La. - Anti-abortion activists squared off with abortion rights supporters Monday evening at the site of a proposed Planned Parenthood facility Uptown.

Hundreds turned out near the intersection of South Claiborne and Napoleon Avenues to voice their opinions about the issue.

On one side of the street stood supporters of Planned Parenthood. On the other stood their opponents, including religious leaders and residents who came out to express their outrage over the new 7,000-sq. foot facility slated to be built there.

Abby Johnson was among the speakers in opposition. She's a former director of Planned Parenthood who, after witnessing a disturbing abortion, changed her views and renounced the practice.

"I am shocked when I see women who are obviously intelligent women, supporting the lies that Planned Parenthood has put on them.  I am shocked that me, as a very intelligent woman, believed that for so long. But you see, that's how Satan works," Johnson said.

At times, Johnson had to yell to the crowd to get her message across, because the group gathered on the other side of Claiborne also wanted to be heard.

Abortion rights supporter Karon Reese said, "It's fundamental, it's the law. They're over here protesting something that is a constitutional right of women."

The new facility will be the largest of its kind in the state of Louisiana.  Planned Parenthood tells FOX 8 the facility is needed to bring affordable health care, including abortion services, to locals. A spokeswoman says the center also will provide birth control, lifesaving cancer screenings and "well woman" exams.

Supporter Jantzen Hubbard added, "There's a plethora of services that are really important that they offer, so a large facility means better health care for New Orleans residents. So I'm all for it."

Johnson doesn't agree, saying, "They already have a clinic down on Magazine Street where they're providing annual exams and they're providing testing services. So there's no reason, if that were truly their goal, and that was the only thing they were in this for. Then there would be no reason for them to even build this facility and begin to provide abortion services."

The new Planned Parenthood is scheduled to open in 2014 or early 2015.

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