‘Defend Planned Parenthood' March Brings Both Sides to Encinitas

Signs in hand, demonstrators on both sides of the abortion debate marched Saturday at Moonlight State Beach in Encinitas.

Spearheaded by pro-choice activists, a group gathered for the “Defend Planned Parenthood” march, a peaceful demonstration that made its way from Moonlight State Beach down Pacific Coast Highway to K Street, then back to the beach via Third Street.

Encinitas resident Karen Abrams was among the many demonstrators fighting for Planned Parenthood. She was there with her family and friends and told NBC 7 the event was peaceful and positive. Abrams said the march was organized by two young women but attended by men, women and children of all ages.

"It gives me hope for the future," Abrams told NBC 7.

At the march, many people shared stories of how Planned Parenthood has helped them -- in some cases even saving their lives with their services.

"It gave me the chills," Abrams added.

“HPV screenings, mammograms, birth control: There are so many services Planned Parenthood offers. It would really be a hit to women’s health,” demonstrator Alyssa Martindale said.

Martindale said she credits Planned Parenthood with helping to decrease the number of abortions.

“We actually have the lowest abortion rates since Roe v. Wade because so many women have access to safe birth control,” she said.

Oceanside resident Carmen Cook participated in the march with his entire family: his grandchildren, wife and children. He said it was difficult not to be impacted by the stories of women who have counted on Planned Parenthood for help over the years.

"The work Planned Parenthood does is so important," he said, adding that the organization does much more than just provide abortion services.

The march was also attended by some pro-life activists; with megaphones in hand, some voiced their opinions in support of President Donald Trump's stance on the hot-button topic.

Last month, Trump banned U.S. funding to international groups that perform abortions or provide information about the procedure.

The decision was met with both support from those on the pro-life side, as well as resistance from those on the pro-choice side.

The march in San Diego’s North County was one of many happening Saturday around the country.

Nationwide, anti-abortion activists planned to rally around President Trump’s call for the federal government to cut off payments to Planned Parenthood. However, in some cities, counter-protests dwarfed the demonstrations.

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