The protesters are gathering for a prayer march targeting the facility which they describe as an “abortion supercenter.”
The crowds, which are growing, are gathering in a parking lot behind Catholic Charismatic Center on Cullen Boulevard, near the six-story Planned Parenthood building which is set to open this spring.
The protesters plan to march in a square around the neighborhood before congregating at Planned Parenthood for an early afternoon press conference.
Participants were listening to speeches, concerts and waving anti-abortion signs and flags. Organizers of the rally say they are holding the event on Martin Luther King Day because they believe Planned Parenthood is targeting minority groups since the building stands in the center of predominantly black and Hispanic neighborhoods.
“I grew up over here in this neighborhood,” said Vickie Soliz of Houston. “That building used to be the old Sterling Bank. Nobody knew what they were putting in there. They wouldn't do this in Kingwood or The Woodlands.”
The protestors also are trying to highlight Planned Parenthood's plans to carry out late-term abortions at the new location.
Officials with Planned Parenthood of Houston and Southeast Texas have described claims that the building will be the largest center of late-term abortions in the Western Hemisphere as “nonsense.”
Only one of the six floors will be for clinical space, officials said. Most of the building will be used for administration and family planning.
Planned Parenthood officials have said they will perform abortions only through the 19th week of pregnancy at the new site.
The local chapter's board decided not to perform abortions after that because few women seek them, and there are medical complications and risks in performing abortions past the 19th week.
For those of you unfamiliar with the Houston area (most of you,) Kingwood and the Woodlands are affluent, predominantly white areas.