Abortion opponents hold Good Friday vigil in St. Paulby Sasha Aslanian, Minnesota Public Radio
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Hundreds of opponents of legalized abortion gathered for a prayer vigil outside the largest provider of abortion services in the state.
Activists rallied today outside the new headquarters of Planned Parenthood Minnesota in St. Paul, attending the annual Good Friday protest, which runs until 4 p.m.
A smaller counter-protest of Planned Parenthood supporters marched in a separate area, and patient care was not interrupted. Police barricades separated the protestors.
The Catholic Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis, John Nienstedt, opened the protest with a prayer, and a call to end abortions.
"You and I gather here once again today as people of faith, to remind people of the horror of abortion and the true tragedy of what takes place behind these walls of this awful structure of concrete and glass," said Nienstedt.
Planned Parenthood has been in this location since January.
"This is their new mega-abortion facility and so you know, it's a new location for us," said Brian Gibson of Pro-Life Action Ministries and organizer of the day-long protest.
"We did it for 26 years at their old abortion facility in Highland Park so you know, we have to make adjustments, we've got to figure out the logistics, but all of that has just gone extremely well."
Planned Parenthood is the largest provider of abortion services in the state. The number of abortions performed in Minnesota has been steadily falling for decades. In 2010, the most recent data available, that number was 11,500, the lowest since 1975.
"This is an annual event and this is the first annual event that's taken place at this facility, but we're very excited," said Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Jennifer Aulwes. "We have 800 people signed up to come and support Planned Parenthood today, so we're happy to be out here with all the people in the community that support us."