Eugene’s Antifascists Show Up for Reproductive Rights
Editors note: This article has been updated to reflect new information.
On Sept. 4, the message was made clear that The Church at Planned Parenthood is not welcome in Lane County.
The Church at Planned Parenthood is a Christian group who “[worships] at the gates of hell,” according to their website. Their “Contending For Life Tour” had traveled to Planned Parenthood facilities in Bend, Oregon and both Twin Falls and Boise, Idaho prior to their Eugene visit.
TCAPP originally planned to hold their 2 p.m. rally at the—closed—Planned Parenthood location in West Eugene, and, with one day’s notice, changed their rally-point to the facility in Springfield on Franklin Boulevard.
The counter-protest arrived early with most present by 1 p.m.
A month prior, Planned Parenthood released a statement asking that no counter-protests be held despite an increase in pro-life protests to protect their patient’s and staff’s safety.
As it became obvious that the counter-protest of around 100 people—including several dozen in black bloc with homemade shields—was larger than expected, the small group of regular pro-life protesters and another, even smaller, group of militant-looking right-wingers left.
They weren’t entirely gone though.
First, there was a large red pickup truck full of what looked to be right-wingers. Suspicions turned to proof when the men parked in front of a local shop down the street, got out, and began to take pictures and record video of the counter-protest.
Not long after, the shop’s owner, or an employee, came out, walked down the street towards the counter-protest to a parked Springfield Police Department cruiser and asked that they be moved elsewhere.
The officer drove down, talked to them, and they moved across the street. They remained in the area for a while before never being seen again.
In the parking lot directly behind the counter-protest across the street was a white pickup truck that was being driven by Bradley Gordon Morrison, a member of Patriot Prayer from Salem, who, briefly, pulled next to an SPD officer and spoke with them. He came and left probably five or six times in total.
Morrison left quickly, driving closely behind the counter-protest with what looked to be a camera in his hand. He pulled out of the driveway abruptly and a can was thrown the truck’s windshield. It bounced off and landed in front of the counter-protest.
And then Richard Elce, in a red Ford Focus with his oversized flag on top held up by a large bamboo rod, drove past the counter-protest a few times before parking down the street in an empty lot.
Elce stayed there for a while, and then left, only to turn up next to a large orange pickup truck in front of the same business down the street from earlier.
Black bloc noticed this and the orange truck left as they walked up. Elce, however, was outside of his car and didn’t leave. Instead, he scuffled with black bloc while someone tried to take his flag off of the top of the car. He left a few moments later minus one window.
The orange truck later returned and parked next to a Uhaul truck in the lot behind the counter-protest. After a few minutes, they were asked who they were. One man replied that they were a moving crew here to work.
Around 3:15 p.m., it was reported within the counter-protest that TCAPP and their supporters had left Roaring Rapids, where they had relocated, in trucks with duct tape over the license plates.
The counter-protest decided to stay put as they were unsure where they were headed.
Not long after, around 3:30 p.m., it was reported over the speaker that TCAPP had relocated to the original West Eugene location and had congregated in front of the Albertsons parking lot.
The counter-protest followed.
Once the counter-protest arrived— in smaller numbers—TCAPP and its supporters left the area.
Eugene-Springfield’s antifascist and pro-choice community had successfully out-numbered and out-protested not one, but two, Planned Parenthood facilities and ran the TCAPP away at least two times. In Bend, TCAPP didn’t even show up.
“Eugene fucking rocked it today! Anti-fascists showed the fash that they’re not welcome here,” the Eugene Youth Liberation Front said on Twitter. “This shows that successful anti-fascist/radical actions are able to happen here again and it’s possible to get numbers out to those.”
The news spread up north, too. “Today solidified The Church at Planned Parenthood’s ‘Contending For Life’ tour as a complete failure,” Corvallis Antifa said on Twitter. “TCAPP is losing any power they once had thanks to grassroots resistance in the communities they attempt to terrorize!”