Debra Braun, Pro-Life Action Ministries

I have sidewalk counseled outside Planned Parenthood (PP) in St. Paul, MN since 1986, and have witnessed firsthand the tactics used by this “pro-choice” organization to limit women’s access to information and choices.

In the early years, we distributed pro-life literature at the driveway of PP’s Ford Parkway location and talked with clients as they walked past us into the abortion facility. The women could hear our offers of help. Many took literature and some gratefully accepted our help, choosing life for their babies! Then PP started using “escorts.” While these escorts walked the clients into the center, they talked to them, trying to prevent them from hearing the truth and offers of help.

We had another opportunity to talk to the women who were smokers. They would stand outside the door, giving us an additional chance to reach them with the truth, and this resulted in more lives saved. Eventually PP began directing smokers to the parking lot near a noisy air conditioning unit, hindering their ability to hear us.

Planned Parenthood’s guards often asked the women for our brochures and there was a trash can right inside labeled “Pop cans and protesters’ brochures.” And just recently, a woman who decided not to abort told us that she had secretly opened and read our brochure inside her bag while in the PP waiting room. She remembered that an acquaintance had been told by PP staff to put the brochure away or she would have to leave.

Planned Parenthood seeks to hide the truth from women. A woman once told us that PP employees had refused to give her a copy of her ultrasound photo until the woman was “forceful” in asking for it. (PP only does ultrasounds for abortions, to determine what abortion technique to use and how much to charge, based on the baby’s age.) This woman decided against abortion, as do many women after viewing their baby via ultrasound.

Planned Parenthood claims they offer information about choices women have, such as adoption. But once a PP employee brought a woman out to me to get adoption resources, information they apparently didn’t have.

When announcing plans for its new mega-center in St. Paul which opened in 2011, PP touted the fact that the building was designed to protect “privacy.” In other words, it was designed to further limit contact between the sidewalk counselors and the abortion clients.

When women call PP to make an appointment for an abortion, they are strongly encouraged to avoid the sidewalk counselors, whom PP calls “protestors.” Most of the women arrive by car. Once past the sidewalk counselors at the driveway, most park in the ramp behind the PP building and enter through the back door, largely out of sight and earshot of the counselor. However, they could see and hear the sidewalk counselors at the side of the complex so PP attached a covering to the fence there, again trying to prevent the women from receiving the truth about abortion.

Many of the escorts for PP interfere with private conversations between the sidewalk counselors and the women, even physically placing themselves in the middle of these conversations at the driveway or on the public sidewalk.

Over the years, PP has obtained court orders and called the police countless times, attempting to obstruct our First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and assembly. Despite all these efforts of PP to maintain a steady flow of “customers” for its abortion business, babies are still being saved through sidewalk counseling. The Truth is more powerful than Planned Parenthood.


Debra Braun is the Education Director of Pro-Life Action Ministries