Religious leaders and pro-life activists will rally outside the building on Monday, January 18, to oppose its opening. They chose the date to coincide with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to emphasize the need to protect the rights of unborn children. Engle quoted King in his CNS News interview as saying, "It is time to subpoena the conscience of America," and he said the same applies to the fight to end abortion.
Another significance of the date relates to minorities targeted by abortion activists. Bound 4 Life is another pro-life group participating in the January 18 rally, and its website accuses Planned Parenthood of specifically targeting minorities in the spirit of that organization's founder, Margaret Sanger. Bound 4 Life quotes Sanger as calling black Americans "human weeds" and "reckless breeders" and says that Sanger started a movement called The Negro Project in 1916 to "eliminate the ones she thought were undesirable."
Bound 4 Life explains that the new Planned Parenthood facility is located in the midst of four minority communities, three of them 85 percent Hispanic and one 80 percent African-American. This latest facility, at 4600 Gulf Freeway, is the fourth in a string of new Planned Parenthood minority-targeting "super centers" in the United States. The others are in Colorado, Illinois, and Florida, but the new center dwarfs even the largest of these. In fact, the only larger one in the world is in China. Bound 4 Life claims that 76 percent of Planned Parenthood's facilities are strategically located in minority communities.
Last year, on January 22, marking the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, pro-life activists rallied at the same location in Houston to protest Planned Parenthood's decision to renovate the former Sterling Bank Building. At that time, the Texan reported that community leaders also accused Planned Parenthood of targeting college students, since both the University of Houston and Texas Southern University are nearby. But they worried that their concerns would go unnoticed since the director of Houston's Health and Environmental Policy Office, Elena Marks, was also the national chairwoman of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Marks still holds both positions, though the recent election of a new mayor for Houston could change her status with the city.
It is uncertain whether this year's rally will provoke reaction from the new mayor. CNS News reports that other pro-life groups are planning to attend the January 18 rally, including the Family Research Council, the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, the Coalition for Urban Renewal and Education, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and Hope Christian Church (from the Washington, D.C. area). Another notable activist planning to attend is Abby Johnson, who served as director of a Planned Parenthood clinic. The evening before the rally these activists plan to gather at Grace Community Church in Houston for four hours of fasting and prayer for the success of their efforts.