Activists rally to demand Planned Parenthood investigation

Protest outside the governor's mansion
Hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside the governor's mansion in St. Paul.
Jim Mone | AP

Updated: 7:10 p.m. | Posted: 7:20 a.m.

Around 500 people, including activists, state legislators and religious leaders rallied at Gov. Mark Dayton's residence in St. Paul Wednesday to demand an investigation into Planned Parenthood.

Protesters allege that Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota work with Advanced BioScience Resources for fetal tissue donation.

"If ABR is admitting to be working in Minnesota, then Planned Parenthood and every other abortion facility needs to be investigated," said Brian Gibson, executive director of Pro-Life Action Ministries.

Activists are calling on Dayton to defund Planned Parenthood and investigate the organization. They claim online videos validate their claims that Minnesota is one of the states in which ABS operates.

Planned Parenthood CEO Sarah Stoesz said in a statement Tuesday that the videos are "debunked, fraudulent videos" and that Planned Parenthood Minnesota does not donate fetal tissue. She said an investigation into the videos found they were heavily distorted to misrepresent actual events.

Stoesz said that the protest is driven by the group's political agenda to ban abortion.

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered
St. Paul police diverted traffic to accommodate the large crowd.
Jim Mone | AP

She said Planned Parenthood operates 18 clinics that reach thousands of people and provide comprehensive sex education.

"Planned Parenthood does more in one day to prevent unintended pregnancy and, therefore, the need for abortion, than these protesters do in their lifetimes," she said.

Dayton's press secretary, Matt Swenson, said protesters were free to practice their First Amendment rights outside the governor's residence.

He did not say the governor will launch an investigation, but confirmed that Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota "does not participate in any donation of fetal tissue."

Correction (Sept. 9, 2015): The original version of this story was unclear about whether Planned Parenthood Minnesota donates fetal tissue. The group does not donate fetal tissue, according to its president.

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