Anti-abortion rally outside Planned Parenthood after Sims' video

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A group of anti-abortion activists and religious leaders rallied outside of Planned Parenthood in Center City Philadelphia on Friday to protest Pennsylvania State Representative Brian Sims.

For Ashley Garecht, the protest on Locust Street was personal.

She was the mother who, along with her two teenage daughters and their friend, were filmed and badgered by Pa. State Rep Brian Sims.

Garecht says it happened as they were trying to exercise their right to free speech and pray outside of Planned Parenthood.

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Video shows Pa. lawmaker confronting woman outside Planned Parenthood facility. Jim Gardner has more on Action News at 11 p.m. on May 6, 2019

"He did ask specifically for the girls' identities and home address in exchange for donations to Planned Parenthood. I'm disappointed in his actions that day. I forgive him. I hope this can be a learning moment for him," said Garecht.

The protest started at 11 a.m. with prayers for Sims, but then there were calls for him to step down.

This was all sparked after Sims posted videos of him not just berating Garecht but also doing the same to a woman who remained silent.

In the video he said, "An old white lady telling people what to do with their bodies - shame on you."

In the crowd Friday we also spoke with Julie Kelly who has protested at Planned Parenthood locations before.

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"The fact that he approached an elderly woman and young girls, as well, instead of someone his own age and sex, I found it very cowardly," she said.

The anti-abortion activists also made their way up to Sims' office on Chestnut Street.

However, not everyone was there to protest. Some were there to support Sims and the pro-choice cause.

Neighbor Neil Rosenthal said, "It's wrong for these people to be this way, to make a judgement about other woman and how they lead their lives."

In response to this, Planned Parenthood released a statement. Part of it reads, "Despite scare tactics from protestors and political attacks from anti-reproductive rights politicians, we know what's important: our patients. We will continue to provide expert, non-judgmental and affordable care, no matter what."

Sims has taken the videos down. He's admitted he went too far.

We reached out to his office for comment but did not get a response back.
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