ST. LOUIS (AP) – Supporters and opponents of Planned Parenthood have turned out in large numbers for rallies in St. Louis.

Anti-abortion activists staged rallies around the country Saturday calling for the federal government to cut off payments to Planned Parenthood. But in some cities, including St. Louis, counter-protesters outnumbered demonstrators.

The largest gathering in St. Louis began as a Facebook exchange among 15 friends three weeks ago suggesting a counter-protest against anti-abortion activists. It grew to several thousand people Saturday who gathered for a rally in a park and a march, many carrying signs that read, “I stand with Planned Parenthood.”

Another rally outside the Planned Parenthood office in St. Louis drew a few hundred people, a mix of supporters and opponents of Planned Parenthood.

President Trump last month banned U.S. funding to international groups that perform abortions or even provide information about abortions. His newly-confirmed health secretary, Tom Price, has supported cutting off federal money to Planned Parenthood.

Federal dollars don’t pay for abortions, but the organization is reimbursed by Medicaid for other services, including birth control and cancer screening.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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