FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS, Ill. – Opponents of abortion rights gathered outside a new Planned Parenthood facility in Fairview Heights on Wednesday.
The facility was built in secrecy. Planned Parenthood officials say the secrecy was necessary to avoid protests and potential harassment of contractors that could have delayed the project.
“Planned Parenthood built this mega-facility in secret because they didn’t want us here so guess who’s here today and won’t be leaving until this facility closes,” said Reagan Barklage, Students of Life of America.
Barklage helped organize the demonstration and said protests will continue on a regular basis.
Yamelise Rodriguez, the president of Planned Parenthood for the St. Louis region and Southwest Missouri, said the facility serves an important need for the region.
“Planned Parenthood is doubling down on its commitment to make sure that we’re here for all that need us no matter what,” she said.
Rodriguez said the facility will offer a variety of services.
“As more states are imposing restrictions on access to abortion care, it became really critical for us to make sure that we could expand that access into Illinois which is an oasis for reproductive health care,” she said.
Missouri lawmakers have moved in a direction to reduce abortion by limiting access. Demonstrators hope Illinois will do the same.
“I’m against abortions, I’m against this mega clinic and I want the public to know exactly what this building is about,” said protester Mart Drumm. She held a sign outside the clinic that read, “This is an abortion clinic.”
Protesters said they also hope to let women know there are alternatives to abortion.