Masked crusader


Juan Lerma wearing a hooded dark-green sweater with a white breathing mask over his mouth with the word LIFE in red print.A pro-life protester spends his days outside a local Planned Parenthood clinic, urging people to rethink their choices.

Seven weeks ago Juan Lerma began showing up with a 6-foot sign outside the Planned Parenthood Health Center in the city of Orange.

The 26-year-old pro-life protester wears black leather gloves, a tight sweater, and a surgical mask with the word life written in red.

Lerma’s wardrobe is not worn just for anonymity. He says the outfit protects him from cold weather and unwanted tan lines gained from prolonged sun exposure. His mask reveals the story.

“That was my argument, no discussion,” Lerma said, referring to his mask. “People don’t care how much you know, they want to know how much you care.”

Lerma planned for two weeks of daily protest, but he is counting his seventh week at Planned Parenthood.

His signs state: “True love is in your womb,” “Abortion is not a plan for parenthood,” and “All life is valuable, not just your own.”

The site is visible because of its location at the South Tustin Street entrance to the 22 Freeway, giving protesters a large audience of commuters in Orange and Santa Ana.

At the same location Verne Hunt, 56, holds a sign featuring a red aborted fetus in the palm of a white-gloved hand on one side, and a smiling baby holding a brown teddy bear on the other captioned with, “What memories will you have?”
Lerma opted for a more subtle approach to his protest, rather than the shocking methods used by Hunt.

“I’m trying to be more reasonable and unbiased,” Lerma said, “I’m here to be a stop sign.”

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