On April 16, Holy Saturday, Planned Parenthood California Central Coast hosted its annual Birds and Bees Bash at the Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort. It is their biggest fundraiser and tables cost tens of thousands of dollars. This year, Planned Parenthood highlighted its newly-opened abortion clinic in Oxnard and its efforts to target Oxnard residents who are Indigenous Mixteco from southern Mexico. The Santa Barbara Independent wrote a puff piece about the swanky event, but neglected to mention those protesting Planned Parenthood’s bloody business.
A handful of us stood by the hotel driveway with signs and photos of aborted babies as Planned Parenthood’s guests arrived. Many of the guests parked on the street and walked in, which allowed us to talk to them about how Planned Parenthood is the nation’s number one baby-killing business and does very little else. Their responses ranged from sarcastic to angry, with most falling in the middle: just plain grouchy. Some of the regular attendees had their middle fingers ready to go as they zipped past us into the driveway and others looked distinctly uncomfortable – particularly when the gate malfunctioned and the line of waiting cars stretched out to the street.
We also distributed information about abortion to the other passersby.
After most of the guests seemed to have arrived, we went around to the sidewalk on the ocean side of the hotel. As is described in the Independent article, Planned Parenthood’s event was outdoors, due to Covid. What is not listed as one of the views that the guests enjoyed during their cocktail hour on the balcony is us. The guests had a clear view of us and our signs and the strong onshore wind blew our voices to them. A few of our group sang Lenten hymns, since the day was Holy Saturday.
For the most part, the guests pretended not to see us. They posed together for selfies, sipped their wine, and laughed affectedly. But throughout the cocktail hour, it seemed that at at any given time least one guest was staring at the photos of aborted babies. By the time one guest’s trance was interrupted and he or she went back to talking, another guest would have frozen and be staring.
One of our signs shows a victim of the abortion pill. The photo of the 7-week-old baby held up by an adult’s two fingers really grabbed the attention of the guests.
Even those who didn’t stop to stare were disturbed by our presence and the faces of the victims. Even the most vivacious attendees would occasionally break off a conversation to turn and scream an obscenity at us.
At one point, a guest came down from the balcony to offer us each a little plate of hors d’oeuvres. He seemed to have been sent by a group of guests, because he said “we wanted to reach out.” That was the extent of his explanation for why he came down. His boutonniere was made out of condoms. We all declined the food.
Regarding the new Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Oxnard, pro-lifers have been outside on the sidewalk covering almost all its open hours since it opened its doors a year ago. They report that the number of patients rarely exceeds two in an hour and it’s not uncommon for hours to go by without any patients at all. So far, Planned Parenthood is not having much luck targeting the local population.