Seattle Storm holds pregame rally supporting Planned Parenthood, amid mild protest

While the Seattle Storm’s players warmed up inside a quiet KeyArena, the area surrounding the building was crowded with members of the community who supported team’s partnership with Planned Parenthood, and a few who opposed the rally.

The Storm’s game against the Chicago Sky on Tuesday night featured an ownership-led initiative in support of the nonprofit that provides reproductive health care. This marks the first time a sports franchise has partnered with Planned Parenthood, according to a spokesperson from the organization.

 “No other sports team has been brave enough to do this, but the Seattle Storm is,” Christine Charbonneau, CEO of PPGNHI, said at the pregame rally on KeyArena’s West Plaza.

Signs that said, “I stand with Planned Parenthood” were waiting for spectators in nearly every seat inside KeyArena. During the game, an announcement about the Storm’s auction to raise money for Planned Parenthood was met with cheers from the crowd.

The Storm’s game against the Chicago Sky is the team’s only nationally televised home game of the year, which Storm co-owner Dawn Trudeau said was a factor in choosing a date for the event.

“The thing that is really important to remember is that things don’t end today after this evening,” Trudeau said at the rally. “We’re doing this because it’s something that we could do.”

Behind the few hundred people supporting Planned Parenthood outside KeyArena, there were four protesters standing with graphic photos. There didn’t appear to be any confrontation between the groups for and against Planned Parenthood.

Tom Herring of Port Orchard, a founder and director of the Anti-Choice Project, said he attended the event in order to “expose the injustice of abortion with the pictures of abortion victims about to educate people that this is what abortion does to a baby.”

It doesn’t bother Herring when sports teams opt to take a stance on a political or social issue, but he said in this situation, he felt compelled to “show them what it is they’re supporting.”

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