Abortion foes, supporters rally in Everett

EVERETT — Two groups with different views about abortion lined the sidewalks Saturday afternoon near Hoyt Avenue and 32nd Street.

Most people held signs outside of the Everett Planned Parenthood expressing their feelings on the topic of abortion. Others chanted and some prayed as they held rosaries and balloons.

Rachel Carrier, 28, recited a prayer in the rain with others who were part of 40 Days For Life, a campaign calling for an end to abortion. The Everett mother of four children held a sign that read, “Choosy Mothers Choose Life.”

“Planned Parenthood supports abortion so we pray outside the clinic where our presence is most felt and the women walking into the clinic, if they need any help, can come and talk to us and we give them information on where they can go if they want to keep their babies.” Carrier said. “But we’re mostly here for prayer and to have a peaceful presence.”

The 40 Days For Life campaign in Everett started in fall 2007. The latest 40-day campaign began Feb. 22 and ends Sunday.

Others standing in the rain Saturday included Leela Yellesetty, a Seattle woman who helped to start Seattle Clinic Defense. The pro-choice group was formed about a year ago after a Walk For Choice rally in Seattle, Yellesetty said. Those who started the group wanted to be a counterpresence to anti-abortion groups that routinely picketed outside of Planned Parenthood locations in Seattle.

“Anybody is entitled to their religious beliefs but don’t try to harass and intimidate women who are getting health services,” said Yellesetty, 28. “We want to be here for a supportive presence and to let people know there are two sides to this issue.”

Seattle Clinic Defense members first came up against the 40 Days For Life group at Planned Parenthood locations in Seattle but have rallied on the Everett street for three Saturdays during the latest 40 Days For Life campaign, said Lisa Orr, 21, of Seattle. People involved in other pro-choice and women’s groups also joined Seattle Clinic Defense.

Helen Gilbert, 57, has supported abortion and women’s rights since the 1970s. The Seattle woman held a sign that read, “Honk for abortion rights.” A member of Radical Women, Gilbert said the demonstrations in Everett have been peaceful.

“These particular folks pray and sing,” she said. “Other forces in the ant-abortion movement have more aggressive tactics but these particular people on these particular occasions have been really low key.”

Across Hoyt Avenue, Joe Brown and his wife, Eileen, of Mill Creek, prepared to sing a song with others in the 40 Days of Life campaign. They want women who are considering having an abortion to know there are other options, Brown said.

“It’s not about taking women’s rights away,” he said. “It’s about giving them other options.”

Amy Daybert: 425-339-3491; adaybert@heraldnet.com.

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