This Saturday, protests are being held at Planned Parenthood abortion clinics across the nation. One of the people I mentor wanted to organize an event in her home state. So, I arranged a conversation between her and an expert pro-life debater, who has a lot of experience with these things. I listened in and contributed to the discussion, and I took notes, as well. They gave me permission to type up the notes on this blog. I think it makes for an interesting post.
So the first thing the expert said was that it’s a good idea to contact someone at City Hall, in order to get the permit to hold a protest. If you have a protest with more than X people, you need a permit. X depends on where you are doing the protest. The permit normally takes a week or so to get. Permits cost money, and you have to say the time period during which you will be protesting. Expert also said that it was a good idea to get the name and number of the person at City Hall, in case the police arrive and ask questions. Expert also recommended talking to the police and asking about what the law says, and then getting the officer’s name, phone number and badge number. Expert said that the person at the station will likely outrank any police officer who shows up, which is good because it really shows that the demonstrators have done their homework.
Expert said it was a useful thing to know whether there was going to be a counter-protest. The way these things work is that you have to stand on the sidewalk, and you can’t block access to anything, and you have to not use wood handles on your signs. If you run out of space, you can stand on the other side of the street, on the sidewalk. Expert said it was a good idea to have a coffee / snack event after the protest is over and debrief.
Expert recommended that Organizer have many copies of a press release from a national organization like Created Equal in case anyone from the media asked what the protest was about. Expert suggested that copies of the press release be sent to the local media – newspapers, radio and local TV news. Expert wanted to spend the rest of the time doing mock interviews with Organizer, where he would be the journalist and she would answer his mock questions.
Basically, Expert said that the media would show up and ask the following questions:
- Who are you? Organizer would reply with name
- Why are you here? Organizer would explain that because of the Center for Medical Progress videos, there were allegations that Planned Parenthood was breaking the law, that she wanted to raise awareness about the videos, that she wanted Planned Parenthood investigated, and then if the investigations found evidence of misconduct, then she wanted Planned Parenthood to be de-funded.
- Where do these allegations come from? Organizer will mention where the videos can be found online, and urge the journalists and the people hearing / seeing this on the news to watch the videos. Expert recommended mentioning the place where the videos can be see in all answers from now on in the interview, since that is the main point to make and that we did not want it to be cut out during the editing process.
- What did you see in the videos? Organizer says that she saw attempts to maximize how money is being charged to buyers rather than just recovering costs, abortion procedures being altered to maximize revenue, partial-borth abortions being performed, and mother’s refusal to consent being disregarded.
- Respond to critics’ charge that videos are highly-edited. Organizer should reply that the full videos for many of the clips are posted online at the CMP web site, and that people should go and watch the videos.
- What do you want people to do about this? Organizer wanted to urge people to watch the videos, and then contact their local legislators and governor to get the investigation and possible de-funding started.
There is a good Newsbusters article that I tweeted earlier that has all the videos in one place, so if you haven’t watched them, do it. And if you want to organize or attend a protest this Saturday, hope this post helps you.
Resources for the #ProtestPP event are here, including a sample press release.
And here is a quick primer on debating the abortion issue:
It’s actually not as scary as you think to debate it, you just have to stay calm, and be used to hearing different points of view. Reading “The Case for Life” by Scott Klusendorf is more than enough background to debate this issue.