In the Midst of Dueling Abortion Protests, a Civil Conversation

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An unidentified anti-abortion activist prays at a demonstration outside the Planned Parenthood clinic in San Francisco.  (April Dembosky/KQED)

A small group of anti-abortion activists gathered for a prayer vigil outside the Planned Parenthood clinic in San Francisco on Saturday, Feb. 11. They were part of a nationwide demonstration, calling for the elimination of funding for Planned Parenthood.

But, as in several other cities, the quiet demonstration in San Francisco was overwhelmed by hundreds of counter-protesters, chanting and shouting into bullhorns.

In the days before the rally, Planned Parenthood had asked counter protesters not to come, or to demonstrate at a different location, to avoid an angry confrontation that would make patients feel unsafe.

In the midst of an otherwise tense standoff, two San Francisco women reached across the aisle. Anti-abortion protester Eva Muntaen and an abortion rights protester called out to each other. They said they wanted to talk -- to understand each other and maybe find some common ground. A police officer allowed the anti-abortion activist to cross the sidewalk, and the two women gave permission to record their conversation:

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In the Midst of Dueling Abortion Protests, a Civil Conversation

In the Midst of Dueling Abortion Protests, a Civil Conversation

For this series, which we’re calling “Start the Conversation,” we listen in on pairs of Californians who have very different opinions on issues, but who also want to find common ground.

Want to participate? Click here to find our contact form and let us know what issues are important to you, or what kinds of conversations you want to hear.