SPOKANE, Wash. — A large protest happened outside of Planned Parenthood in Spokane and plans are in place to help keep everyone involved safe.
On Wednesday at 5:30 p.m., a group called "The Church at Planned Parenthood" hosted a "worship service" to protest abortion procedures.
A counter protest is started at 5 p.m. Counter-protesters say they are standing in solidarity with women's rights.
Safety and security was top of mind for many people attending, as well as staff at the Planned Parenthood.
The Spokane Police Department said it prepared to make sure the event stayed peaceful.
Department leaders said they increased presence of uniformed and non-uniformed officers.
"Your right to protest, and your right to express yourself should not impede or infringe on somebody else's right to get through their day," said Sgt. Terry Preuninger.
Preuninger said those who choose to exercise their First Amendment rights are not exempt from other laws.
"Make sure you do not block pedestrian pathways, don't block vehicle pathways, don't be disorderly, don't incite violence or anything like that," Preuninger said.
Protesters have the right to express themselves, but where they demonstrate is determined by their location and if the proper permits were gathered.
If it's a public area with public access, protesters are allowed to be there, however, they cannot impede on other businesses or other people from going about their business.
It's not just police who are stepping up security. Planned Parenthood said in a statement that they have a strict non-engagement policy for Planned Parenthood staff and they have security teams on site. On days they with large protests, patients are escorted in and out of the building.
Large anti-abortion protests are not new to Spokane. In 1999, hundreds of people with opposing views filled the streets to voice their opinions about abortion.
Police had a large presence then, but Preuninger said whatever the debate, people in Spokane can usually come together peacefully.
"That's kind of the common standard around here in our community, we don't have large issues, and yet people do have opposing views and come together and express them, they get their message out without harming anybody else or each other," Preuninger said.