On Saturday, Aug. 22, anti-abortion organizers staged a #PPSellsBabyParts National Day of Protest at more than 300 Planned Parenthood locations throughout the United States. But at Ferndale's event, Detroit's Satanic Temple chapter threw a counterprotest of its own.
As anti-abortion protesters gathered outside Ferndale's Planned Parenthood, the Satanic Temple set up a guerrilla theatrical performance, which featured two actresses tied up in a kneeling prayer position, as people dressed as clergymen attempted to drown them in milk.
Behind them, organizers held an American flag emblazoned with the Satanic Temple's logo, along with a sign reading “AMERICA IS NOT A THEOCRACY. END FORCED MOTHERHOOD."
As evidenced in a video of the event, a man in plainsclothes claiming to be the Chief of Police walked in the middle of the scene — a gun clearly visible at his belt, a badge nowhere in sight — and attempted to shut down the performance. After three minutes, officers in uniform escorted the Satanic Temple protesters away.
The #PPSellsBabyParts slogan is based in a recent video released by an anti-abortion group called the "Center for Medical Progress" in which a Planned Parenthood staffer is filmed in such a way that gives the impression that the nonprofit harvests and sells organs from fetuses. (Metro Times' own Jack Lessenberry has compared the video to National Lampoon's Watergate-era The Missing White House Tapes, which spliced together quotes from Richard Nixon to comedic effect.)
In response to the protests, the Satanic Temple released a statement on its website:
The Satanic Temple strongly opposes the promotion of misinformation and believes that all people are entitled to make informed decisions about their health, family, and future without coercion. We will not remain voiceless when the philosophical and religious opinions of those in power are utilized to legislate morality. The attempt to do so violates American foundational values of freedom and liberty.
The group has staged numerous events that protest the breach of the separation of church and state. Earlier this summer, the group unveiled a "Baphomet" monument in Detroit intended to be placed next to the Oklahoma Capitol grounds' Ten Commandments monument. Last year, the group got Lansing's permission to place its own holiday display on Michigan's Capitol grounds after a group planned to put up a Nativity scene.
Watch video from the Planned Parenthood event below: