The Students for Life and Pro-Life Future organized the #WomenBetrayed rally at the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday in response to a series of undercover videos, the third of which was released Tuesday morning. The videos from Center for Medical Progress depict Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale of fetal tissue after abortion.
The purpose of the rally was to raise support for defunding Planned Parenthood from more than $540 million in taxpayer funding and to ask government officials to investigate Planned Parenthood for allegedly illegally profiting from the sale of fetal tissue.
Speakers at the rally included Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life, blogger Matt Walsh, Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R., Tenn.), Andy Harris (R., Md.), Tim Huelskamp (R., Kansas), and Chris Smith (R., N.J.), along with representatives from Alliance Defending Freedom, Concerned Women for America, Susan B. Anthony List, Americans United for Life, Family Research Council, and Women Speak for Themselves.
Presidential candidates Sens. Rand Paul (R., Ky.) and Ted Cruz (R., Texas) and Dr. Ben Carson were also in attendance. Before they spoke, they were asked whether, if they were elected president of the United States, they would defund Planned Parenthood. Each candidate said he would.
Paul announced to the cheering crowd that he had good news.
"The Senate will vote on defunding Planned Parenthood before we go home in August," Paul said. "I’m calling today for Hillary Clinton to return the money she’s been receiving from Planned Parenthood. The time is now to stand for life."
Carson, a retired neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins, told the story of his shunt surgery on a twin in the womb, where one child had a brain growing very rapidly that would harm the life of both babies. He recalled seeing the baby’s head shrink in an ultrasound after the procedure, and that both babies were saved before being born.
"We want to get to a point when they will think like we do about human life," he said. "There is nothing more precious than the life of a human being."
"The same people who say it’s a meaningless clump of cells are the same people trying to get livers, and lungs, and kidneys," Carson said, referring to the Planned Parenthood officials in the videos.
Cruz called for the Department of Justice to open a criminal investigation into the individuals seen in the videos and into whether Planned Parenthood is breaking the law for bartering and selling the body parts of unborn children.
"When you have multiple individuals caught on tape apparently confessing to multiple felonies that carry with them large jail time, justice must be served," Cruz said.
"I encourage every American to watch the videos and ask, ‘Are these my values?'"
More rallies against Planned Parenthood are scheduled to take place in cities across the United States alongside local, state, and federal officials.