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Posts Tagged ‘Planned Parenthood’

I don’t know how to start this subject.  Let me try to tell a story.  We’ll see how that goes.

There is sunshine, but the air is thin and cold.  A wide open street on the edge of the old Stapleton Airport campus in east Denver invites the wind.  I stand a few feet into the street, for several reasons.  From there I can see past the cars parked on the curb, to quickly profile cars coming down the block from either direction.  I’m away from unwelcome shade provided by the black tarps draping the encircling fence.  And I can see my friends’ faces from their perch at the top of a couple ladders.
Cars parked on the curb function as easels to signs bigger than I am.  The wind sneaks under the vehicles, between tires, and swirls to drag down larger-than-life graphic images of aborted children.  The pictures show blood and entrails.  Decapitation.  Tongs holding body parts.  Tiny feet and hands held in the gloved hand of a medical professional.  Still babies curled up, skin blackened by unnatural death.  I don’t like to look at those signs.
But I pick them up when they blow down.  I help set them out each morning I sidewalk counsel.  Without them those who drive by wonder what we’re doing.  We don’t look serious.
In my few years’ experience sidewalk counseling, I have noticed that men and women planning to abort their sons and daughters are not very rational.  We can take any verbal approach to explaining why abortion will not solve their problems, and they walk in anyway.  Sometimes they even respond, revealing the level of their irrationality.
They’ll tell us to go save starving children in Africa, for example.  As if the fact that children are dying somewhere else makes it ok to intentionally kill them here, and I should say nothing about it.  Pro-choice people will argue that if a baby was conceived through rape, the baby should die.  But if a 20-year-old was conceived in rape, they should not be aborted.
We talk about heartbeats and fingers and toes, DNA, and blood type.  Abortion has been linked to increased risk for breast cancer, depression, and infertility.  Planned Parenthood wants their money, and we’re out there as volunteers, offering free help.  If they can’t keep the baby, they could choose adoption.  Women are made to nurture, not murder their kids.  Men are made to protect, not destroy life.  Why get your healthcare from people who think it is healthy to pull the arms and legs off of babies?  God hates the hands that shed innocent blood, and without turning to Jesus, the parents and staff must give an account to God for the lives they took.
But before they hear any of that, they see the pictures.  For a moment their irrational thoughts cannot even pretend to refute a picture.  It wakens an instant emotion: disgust, fear, compassion – that no words can wipe away.  Faced with images of death, no desperate thoughts of boyfriends or fathers or college degrees or finances can compare.  They drive on by.  They get out of their cars.  They hear sidewalk counselors through tarps and from ladders.
Honestly, the words we say are only the follow up.  We make eye contact and speak up to plead for the lives of the babies.  Sidewalk counselors cry out the warnings women will not hear inside.  Those women who think they have no other choice hear our voices letting them know that we offer help.
This week a woman rode by our signs, instantly crying.  She and her partner pulled into the parking lot but stayed in their car.  We stood on the ladders, trying to make eye contact in their rear-view mirrors.  And then the couple drove out, stopping for a moment to let us know they had changed their mind.  We gave them information on where to get free help, and sent them on their way.
Some pro-life groups and even sidewalk counselors protest the use of graphic signs.  But those that use them report that more people have testified that they changed their minds because of those pictures than for any other reason.  They see the pictures and cannot go through with an abortion.
Four kinds of people see those graphic signs, our strongest argument against the choice of ending a brand new human life.
  1. Pro-lifers see them.  We are reminded of the reality sterilized by large brick buildings prettily landscaped.  It is hard sometimes, watching staff drive in nonchalant and unconcerned by the carnage a few rooms away, to be convinced that cruel murder takes place behind those doors.
  2. The staff sees them.  Some of the staff witness actual abortions.  I wouldn’t imagine the signs have much effect on them (except in that they expose to the world what they do every day).  But other staff does paperwork and counseling and escorting.  Perhaps their hearts will be softened when they see what they are supporting.
  3. Customers who are not pregnant see them.  A few women stop by for birth control or STD testing or other gynecological procedures.  Before they are in a desperate situation, pregnant and emotional, they have been exposed to the gruesome facts of “choice.”
  4. Mothers and fathers with appointments see them.  There are a lot of efforts to prevent them from even reaching this point.  Government programs attempt to teach people what they need to prevent unwanted pregnancies.  Christian ministries offer help to pregnant moms with counsel and physical aid.  Friends are out there offering support for keeping the baby, praying for the women they know or don’t know.  But if this mom slipped through the cracks or chose to come anyway, there are two last efforts: unmistakable graphic signs and people who care enough to try to stop her up until the last minute.
A lot of people in these groups think illogically.  They don’t understand consequences.  They act on emotional impulses, and practice very little self-control.  That’s why graphic signs are more effective: they bypass reason and appeal to emotion.

To God be all glory,
Lisa of Longbourn
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In the pro-life movement, there are some tactics less popular than others.  For example, most everyone will support a pregnancy center.  Adoption agencies are good pro-life outlets, too.  Political involvement (like voting or signing a petition if it comes up) is an easy way to do a bit.  You can blog about pro-life, or give money to pro-life agencies.  Even sidewalk counseling, prayer vigils, and clinic protests aren’t that intimidating.  When you discuss loud, convicting protests or stark, bloody posters, then you rub some people the wrong way.  Finally something that really intimidates people is protesting in neighborhoods of abortionists and their accomplices.  (Ok, the idea of doing anything that could get you sent to jail isn’t popular either, but I’m not really advocating those things.) 

 

In fact a blogger who frequently supports Planned Parenthood was just complaining about the pro-life groups in Colorado who protested outside of a contractor’s house.  Her definitely not endorsed article can be read at this link.  I wrote the following as a comment, but I’m not sure whether she’ll post my refutation, so I’m tripling the effort by blogging it. 

 

Obviously contractors (and their neighbors) want to avoid the public opinion that doesn’t appreciate those who cooperate in the destruction of human life.  A good way of avoiding that would be to not participate in the murder of the most innocent of human life.  This is the point of the protests. 

 

Political campaigning is like this.  Members of the community have a right to communicate their position to their neighbors.  And they have the right to try to persuade their neighbors.  The fact that we have to persuade people to spare innocent children is a point in itself. 

 

When Martin Luther King, Jr. was peacefully and pointedly protesting the discrimination according to race, he was applauded (though resisted).  If the people do not gather to speak, their voice will not be heard.  Looking back we don’t feel bad about the teachers, clerks, drivers, and city officials who were made to feel uncomfortable about the policies of racial discrimination.  What they were doing was wrong.  The people knew it.  And the wrong was changed. 

 

Our constitution precludes lines being drawn about free speech, but I wonder where Planned Parenthood’s supporters would draw it.  The protesters are not on private property, but on public sidewalks and streets.  They do not prevent normal neighborhood activity like driving down the road, receiving mail, eating dinner as a family.  We are surrounded everyday by images and messages on benches, roadway signs, signs in yards, slogans on t-shirts.  Some are even directed at certain companies, policies, groups, or people.  Yet there is little outcry against these manifestations of First Amendment rights. 

 

The pro-abortion blogger used the word bully.  A schoolyard bully threatens the extortion of property or the physical health of his victim.  Debate and truth-telling, with no promise of repercussion, is not bullying.  There is no violence being done.  No theft is involved.  People are speaking their minds.  This is the patriotism on which our country was founded, by which it literally came into being. 

 

Pro-life, anti-abortion, anti-choice-to-take-another’s-life protesters are not objecting to the shame Planned Parenthood and their contractors feel over their projects.  We have serious concerns about the legality of deceiving the city officials and the public, of subverting zoning ordinances, and of potentially slandering the name of other companies (in the case of the Rocky Mountain facility, Planned Parenthood filed their permits under the name United Airlines, which unfairly correlates the murder of babies to them).  No one is questioning why Planned Parenthood wanted to hide their plans.  We simply object that they did.  Cities have ordinances to prevent such things. 

 

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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I went to the rally today.  In the morning we were outside the projected facility, a really beat up building presently, surrounded by wire fences with barbed wire on top.  The area is under development, so maybe when the fence was build there was a need to protect property.  Anway, we marched, prayed, and protested.  My experience marching was holding the hand of a little boy whose mother brought him and his two brothers.  Before today I had never met them.  The rally was an informative kick-off to future efforts.  Speakers included Keith, Will, Eric Scheidler from Illinois, Joe Scheidler also from Illinois, and a lawyer named Tom. 

After lunch we moved inside (side note: earlier this week sleet and snow and freezing weather were predicted for today, but the actual weather was a chilly, clear morning – rain came way after the rally) and heard again the history of this Planned Parenthood facility, and its sister facility with sister tactics in Aurora, Illinois.  Mostly for me it was a time to figure out who these leaders are, what they’re about, and what they’ll continue to do. 

Keith, who is always a quiet person, showed real emotion, between excitement for the turnout, enthusiasm for the cause, and appreciation for leaders of the pro-life movement.  And he quite often was heart to say, “Praise God.”  Will was softspoken and direct, like Gandalf veiling his potency in a thin cloak.  A few weeks ago I heard him answer a neighbor of a contractor who complained he was tired of our protests, “Forty years and 50 million lives!  We’re tired of babies being murdered!”  I am fully aware that my quote has not the slightest hint of the fervor with which it was originally spoken.  Eric told us about the ongoing efforts in Illinois, and how God providentially had the people in place to respond to the last-minute call to forestall Planned Parenthood’s opening there.  Joe gave the Christian admonition to carry on in faith (relying on God), hope (that there are real victories being won through our willingness to be involved and outspoken), and love (for the babies, obviously, and also for our “enemies,” whose souls are at stake.   

Tom the lawyer talked about first amendment rights, testifying of the progressively improving standing pro-life groups have in court.  He advised to always do what a police officer says, even if there isn’t a law.  If our rights are clearly intentionally violated, then we can meet with an officer’s superiors or write letters or if the offense is very direct, we can call a lawyer.  A lot of these people have been in jail.  Sometimes I think of that as civil disobedience, with which I disagree.  The Bible teaches to obey the ordinances of man.  But apparently most of these people weren’t breaking ordinances; they were making authorities uncomfortable, so they arrested them without charges. 

Anyway, I signed the petition (’cause we’re not allowed to sign the ones that we’re circulating) defining person as beginning at fertilization.  Some of the speakers had pretty direct ways of backing pro-choice people into a corner to admit that a baby in the womb is still a living human being.  They report that the abortionists have admitted that they know they are destroying life.  But they don’t tell the women that, because abortion is a business. 

The plans in Colorado are:

1.  Pressure contractors (particularly Weitz Company) through phone calls, emails, and neighborhood protests to cease construction on the Planned Parenthood mega-clinic. 

2.  Increase city, state, and neighborhood awareness of the facility and the dishonest practices employed by Planned Parenthood. 

3.  Preach to those who are working on the building, praying they will, when educated about the project, turn away. 

4.  Define person in the Colorado constitution as beginning at fertilization (collect signatures for the petitions, campaign for the ballot measure). 

5.  Continue to intercede outside of abortion clinics. 

Reported by one of the speakers today was the statistic that the average age of an abortionist in the US today is 65 years, because no new med students want the kind of stigmatized life the abortionists face – a direct result of pro-life protesting.  If there is no abortionist available, even if it is legal, women will not be able to kill their babies.  If there is no facility available, no babies will be murdered either.  The little protests count.  They’re building. 

Pray that the pro-life people of Colorado will be able to expose the lies and greed and ruthlessness of Planned Parenthood and that the facility would be halted and never opened.  Pray that the Christians would stand up for what the Bible clearly teaches.  Pray that the people would understand what abortion is, and reject the practice as barbarous child-sacrifice.  Pray that God will send a revival, using His ambassadors who are surrendered to His service, to Colorado: millions need to experience God’s saving grace for their lives. 

To God be all glory,
Lisa of Longbourn

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“You know about the rally, right?”  That’s the question I received this morning from a refreshingly enthusiastic pro-life activist.  My answer was no.  I am, as an adult, new to the abortion protest/action scene, and am not on any mailing lists, and have not frequented pro-life websites; I am vaguely aware of major news items relating to issues of Life, and have a Psalm 139 worldview on the value of human life. 

Some of you may know that I’ve been spending early Saturday mornings outside the Planned Parenthood near Denver City Park, praying for everyone around, meeting people, and trying to intercede for the lives of the babies about to be killed along with the souls of the mothers, fathers, workers, volunteers, and protesters.  In this way I’ve been made aware of some Colorado developments in the fight against abortion. 
Baby Hands and Feet by Laura Monahan
Hope: Baby Hands and Feet

One was covered this week by local TV stations, and the Rocky Mountain News.  A group called Colorado for Equal Rights is trying to put an amendment to the Colorado Constitution on the ballot for November 2008 that would define person as beginning at fertilization.  This would be a huge step for protecting unborn babies, and is a “loophole” specifically acknowledged in the Roe v. Wade case.  The logic in the 70’s for the case was flawed.  Science is even more compelling now to define life at the earliest possible moment. 

The first thing to be done is to acquire 76,000 petition signatures (in 6 months) from Colorado residents registered to vote, in order to put the issue on the ballot.  Then campaigning must be done to encourage people to vote for the amendment, and to vote in the first place.  Fortunately ’08 is a presidential election year, which usually means big turnout and attention to political issues. 

Opponents’ strongest argument is that we are clearly trying to overturn the “right” to abortion, but did not mention abortion anywhere in the amendment.  They believe that as soon as voters know the connotations of the amendment, they would choose not to support the change to the constitution.  However, there is nothing wrong with the amendment, as upheld by the Colorado courts.  The laws talk about personhood.  We’re trying to legally define what a person is.  Seems like a relevant question to me.  This political step is already raising awareness.  Hopefully it will challenge a lot of voters, and especially Christians, to consider their definition of life and position on abortion or even contraception. 

The other news item I’ve encountered is regarding a new Planned Parenthood facility.  If you have been following US news from the conservative side, you may have heard about Aurora, Illinois, which recently suffered the illegal construction of the largest abortion facility in the country.  I say illegal because to build the office, Planned Parenthood did their best to keep the use of the building a secret, lying on construction permit papers and to contractors.  Despite pro-life opposition pointing these things out, the building is open for business.  A similar plot is underway in Colorado, but the pro-life groups have earlier notice, and are jumping in with both feet in order to stop construction of what may well replace Illinois’ Planned Parenthood as the largest abortion provider in the country. 

So they’re having a rally, to get information out and to use public opinion to pressure neighbors of the facility, contractors, sub-contractors, and anyone involved to stop construction.  So far it seems they have focused their protest on the leadership of Weitz company, the contractor in charge of the project.  The December 1 rally will begin outside the property (in the area formerly associated with Stapleton Airport) slated to become an abortion mega-clinic.  

That’s what I know.  I wish that people would tell me these things when I don’t know, so I’m sharing them with you.  And yes, I guess I’m that young, starry-eyed enthusiast who despite avoiding the college scene wants her share of activism.  Join me?

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

PS: I didn’t duplicate any links in the above; they’re all separate.  You can click on any one of them for more specific information. 

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First go to the Townhall article “Abortion Wars” by  Robert Novak.  I wrote the following in response to his article and the comments made on his report. 

1. Planned Parenthood was founded to deliver abortions to the poor and irresponsible in order to annihilate them in a few generations. Instead the availability of abortions at low cost subsidized the people groups (poor and irresponsible), increasing their numbers as all subsidies do.

2. Since Planned Parenthood sells abortions for such low costs, and is losing money on them, without making money in other areas or from donations (including government ones), they would not be able to provide abortions at those costs.

3. Kansas has reason to believe Planned Parenthood often and variously breaks the law. Other states and investigative agencies have evidence of illegal activity by Planned Parenthood across the country.

4. The Constitution does not permit federal tax or tariff $ to go to any kind of health care/research/prevention. It is supposed to support the government.

5. Regardless, the US congress annually criminally allots millions of dollars to the support of this allegedly criminal institution.

6. Then the US government, which has subsidized irresponsibility and devaluation of human life and reproduction and sex, allots more money to supposedly rehabilitate the victims of their subsidies: poor, emotionally traumatized, physically traumatized, sexually abused, financially irresponsible, sexually irresponsible, STD-infected, and murderers (taught to devalue human life by the federal example).

Even without going into the moral argument, which I fully support, there is no pragmatic or legal excuse for our tax dollars to fund Planned Parenthood.

To God be all glory,
Lisa of Longbourn

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This morning I was back outside Planned Parenthood, praying for the babies, the mothers, the fathers, the grandmothers, the friends, the staff and volunteers of the clinic, and some of the protesters with me that they would know Jesus’ grace.  His grace has meant so much to me.  We’re all just sinners; only accepting God’s grace makes a difference.  That is humbling and unifying. 

I was looking at the signs the pro-lifers had up.  Some make no sense, strange verses that don’t have much to do with babies or life or salvation.  Others are simple and obvious, like “Abortion kills.”  Popular are bloody photographs of what an aborted baby looks like, how old it was, how big, etc.  When the scared, confused, selfish, or arrogant girls drive in, I can’t imagine how they go through with their abortion facing the evidence in front of them.  My bet is that while doctors tend to have posters and pamphlets and full-disclosure of the procedures in other fields, the Planned Parenthood walls were not postered with happy photographs of beheaded infants, though the volunteers who escort women inside cheerfully pretend there is a party inside. 

Even though I see the potential impact of these signs and accompanying rhetoric, I much prefer the other signs.  These are photos of live babies, in the womb or already birthed.  If I had a baby, I’d bring it to the clinic to protest.  The pleas accompanying these signs are, “Please, mom, don’t kill your baby!  Come talk to us.  Any help you need, we’ll get it for you for free.  Is it a boy or a girl they’re going to kill today?” 

I don’t know where the propaganda comes from, but somehow the mothers and abortionists think that we stand shivering in the cold, early Saturday mornings for greedy reasons of our own.  The staff yell back at the protesters trying to intercede for helpless, innocent infants, “You hypocrites!  Judge not.”  We’re called idiots, stupid, and unfeeling. 

But the people out there care.  Almost every family I know that protests also supports crisis pregnancy centers and adoption.  Most have adopted.  If a baby is saved, the mother is not abandoned.  She is mentored, and cared for, and given options.  Some of the women protesting have experienced the life-altering impact of abortions by having one themselves.  Now they know.  They’ve repented.  Many have experienced Jesus’ forgiveness and peace.  And they want to help the girls today to find that peace, as well. 

Today was the first day I went without close friends or family.  When I sit there I don’t know what’s wrong, but I’m emotionless.  I know the facts, and they don’t add up to what I see before me, and maybe the lack of comprehension in my soul overwhelms me and shuts down my feelings.  The first time I went, I was worried that I would do something rash, impulsive, drastic, physical, and illegal.  But I didn’t, and still don’t have very strong urges to do so.  I’m safe, then, going to meet strangers.  Being there on my own moved several of the grandmotherly women to compassion for me, I guess.  They gave me hugs.  I don’t usually hug strangers, but I felt their love, their comaraderie. 

Look.  I’m rambling about my experience, and rarely conclude well.  A blog is one endless conversation; shouldn’t it just transition into the next post?  But I do want to say: do something.  Support a crisis pregnancy center.  Consider adoption.  Protest.  Fund protests.  Write your state and federal congressmen.  Get your church involved.  Give a baby a hug. 

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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