Last Saturday, Central Oregon Right to Life protested the Bend Planned Parenthood clinic, calling on lawmakers to defund the women's health nonprofit.
The protest was part of a nationwide demonstration against the organization, which critics claim sells fetal tissue for profit in violation of federal law.
Planned Parenthood denies the allegations, which opponents say are supported by videos released by the Center for Medical Progress that appear to show Planned Parenthood officials discussing compensation for fetal tissue with people posing as buyers.
"Extremists who oppose Planned Parenthood's mission and services are making outrageous and completely false claims," Jimmy Radosta, communications director for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon, told the Source. "These videos are a fraud intended to deceive the public, and the real agenda of these attacks has become totally clear: to ban abortion and limit women's access to reproductive healthcare at Planned Parenthood. The group behind these discredited videos has close ties with organizations and individuals who have been linked to firebombing abortion clinics and threatening the physical safety of doctors who provide abortion."
Richard Thorne, M.D., past president of Oregon Right To Life, said in a release that abortion is a crime against humanity on par with the Holocaust.
"The dignity of God's gift of fertility is severely diminished by the barbaric act of abortion coupled with the selling of the aborted baby's body parts," he said. "We often criticize the past acts of the Third Reich as 'Crimes against Humanity.' Yet, we are blinded to similar acts that we commit under the guise of 'reproductive health' and 'women's rights.'"
Rep. Knute Buehler, a Republican representing Bend in the Oregon House, has in the past identified himself as pro-choice. But in a statement to the Source, he declined to take a stance on the debate, instead encouraging a continued conversation in the legislature. "Given the sensitive nature and seriousness of the topic, it would be beneficial for all sides to participate in a legislative committee hearing where lawmakers can ask questions and get all the information in the public record," Buehler said. "I believe that the best solutions come when we handle our controversies transparently, collaboratively, and respectfully."