Hundreds protest Planned Parenthood in Madison Print E-mail
Around the Diocese
Written by Kevin Wondrash, Catholic Herald Staff   
Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015 -- 12:00 AM
Planned Parenthood Protest, Madison

Fr. Bart Timmerman, pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Madison, leads more than 200 people in praying the Rosary outside the Planned Parenthood clinic on Madison's east side as they protested the selling of baby body parts from abortions. (Catholic Herald photo/Kevin Wondrash)

MADISON -- Prayer.

That’s what it will take to end abortion.

That’s what rush hour commuters saw as more than 200 people prayed on the sidewalks near the Planned Parenthood clinic on Madison’s east side to do their part to see that facility close and protect the lives of the unborn.

The protest on Monday, Aug. 24, was held in unity with nationwide protests following reports of Planned Parenthood harvesting and selling the organs and tissue of aborted babies.

As people's workdays ended, they arrived at the Orin Rd. site for the 5 p.m. protest, despite the unseasonably cold and gloomy late August weather.

'All things are possible'

Fr. Rick Heilman, pastor of St. Mary Parish in Pine Bluff and St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Mount Horeb and Perry, welcomed everyone who came out.

"With man it's impossible, but with God all things are possible," he said. Encouraging everyone to pray and be in a state of grace, he added, "We need to lean on God and his grace . . . lean on Our Lady as much as you can. She is the one who steps on that satanic head."

State Director of Pro-Life Wisconsin Dan Miller spoke next.

He told the crowd about current legislation going through the state lawmaking committees to ban the sale of fetal body parts from abortions.

"We have the wind at our backs and Lord willing these bills will gain some wind," Miller said. "Not only are we going to ban trafficking of fetal body parts," he added, "but we are going to defund Planned Parenthood" -- which was met with many cheers.

Making their voices heard

Fr. Bart Timmerman, pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Madison, led a Rosary. Before he began leading the prayers, he introduced his mother to everyone and thanked her for choosing life.

As everyone prayed, passers-by on busy Hwy. 51 gave their mixed reactions -- some honked in approval with their thumbs up, while some gave other, more negative gestures.

In support of the line of more than 200 pro-lifers stretched around the block near the clinic, some people with pro-life signage ventured closer to the busy highway, getting the word out.

Steve Karlen, Waterloo resident and director of North American outreach for 40 Days for Life, spoke to the crowd, following the Rosary.

"This is a place that must close its doors forever," said Karlen about Planned Parenthood. "We're taking a step toward that here today."

He encouraged everyone to keep up the pro-life efforts, especially during the 40 Days for Life vigil, which starts Wednesday, Sept. 23. It will include 40 days of prayer, fasting, and witness outside Planned Parenthood clinics, including the one in Madison.

"I want to ask everybody to make a greater sacrifice to come out here and pray on the sidewalks than you ever have before," he said, especially calling on the men to come out and pray in the overnight hours.

More information can be found at

More pro-life efforts

Most of the national protests took place on Saturday, Aug. 22, including a grass-roots event in Madison that reportedly attracted around 85 people.

The protests were co-sponsored nationally by Priests for Life -- a pro-life ministry headed by Fr. Frank Pavone.

In a recent email, Father Pavone announced a week of prayer and fasting, which is this week until Saturday, Aug. 29. More information, including prayers, can be found at

There will also be a National Day of Remembrance on Saturday, Sept. 12, when people are asked to gather at the gravesites of aborted children.

For more information on that effort, go to

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