FAIRFIELD — Five years of a pro-life group’s prayer vigils near Planned Parenthood on Travis Boulevard have produced mostly support from passing drivers as well as some obscene gestures – and led to 58 woman canceling planned abortions, participants say.
Isidro Rodriguez, an organizer for the global group 40 Days for Life, said that since March 2009, some of the women who decided against having abortions returned to the vigil across from the Solano Town Center mall – with their children.
The 55-year-old Fairfield resident said no confrontations with people going to Planned Parenthood take place.
“It’s not a protest,” Rodriguez said. “We’re just praying.”
Tranquilino Panduro, 50, of Fairfield, held a rosary and sign Thursday along Travis Boulevard, where he said the group gets good and bad responses from drivers.
“We have reactions both ways,” he said.
About 90 percent are positive, Panduro said.
Panduro, a Catholic, said participation is not limited to that faith.
“We invite any religion to come,” he said.
The Fairfield resident participated in a pro-life march in February in San Francisco that he said produced very few protests in the city.
“It used to be tough,” Panduro said of the reaction in San Francisco to pro-life supporters.
Heather Estes, CEO for Planned Parenthood Shasta Pacific, said picketers have been present for more than 20 years in Fairfield.
“We believe in free speech,” she said. “They have opinions. They’re allowed to express them.”
Interference with people going to Planned Parenthood’s office has happened occasionally over two decades but in recent years has not been a problem, Estes said.
Most services at Planned Parenthood are for family planning and for medical matters such as cancer screenings, she said. A goal all should share is that women are able to choose when they become pregnant, Estes said.
Raj Hundal and Kayla Maudlin, both 24, of Fairfield, walked Thursday along Travis Boulevard next to vigil participants.
Maudlin said decisions about an abortion should be left up to the woman. Hundal agrees.
The protests aren’t working, Hundal said. He spoke about moving away for two years and returning to find the group still gathering along Travis Boulevard.
Arturo Padilla, 60, of Fairfield, who joined the vigil last year, said the effort is changing people’s ideas about abortion.
“Sometimes I come two to three times a day,” Padilla said of going to the Travis Boulevard site. “I pray and support.”
Reach Ryan McCarthy at 427-6935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.