‘Blessing’ abortion clinics won’t help women

Planned Parenthood, abortion, clergy, blessing, Preterm

At Think Progress, Alex Zielinski has written a glowing report on clergy’s efforts to “bless” an Ohio abortion clinic – more than a bit out of place in the pro-abortion news site’s “health” section.

Also completely out of place are many assertions made by Mr. Zielinski and those featured in the article – clergy and others who view abortion as something that should be ‘judgment-free.’

Zielinksi writes:

On Thursday, Rev. [Laura] Young and other religious leaders plan on blessing Preterm, a local abortion clinic in Cleveland, Ohio. While many states face contentious anti-abortion legislation, Ohio is especially threatened by measures that could shutter clinics and essentially “regulate abortion out of existence,” according to local reproductive rights advocates.

Preterm in Cleveland was the abortion clinic of choice for 22-year-old mother Lakisha Wilson, who suffered a heart attack during her second trimester abortion (performed by Dr. Lisa Perriera) and subsequently died a week later.  Preterm has a history of problems, but just this year at least two of the patients there have been transported to hospitals by ambulance. Perhaps this is a clinic that needs to be ‘shuttered’ for the safety of women.

And what’s the real point of this “blessing”?

The group hopes their blessing will protect the facility against the kind of abuse stemming from preachy protesters, as well as encourage the strength and bravery of those providing and relying on its services. If it’s a success, Young said the group will go on to bless other state clinics.

Oddly, only in the realm of abortion does informing women equate to “abuse.” And what will Young use to determine whether “blessing” an abortion clinic is a success? Will the facility’s abortion numbers increase? Will fewer protesters show up to “abuse” women with biological facts about fetal development? What?

Rev. Laura Young, celebrating Planned Parenthood's "Pink Out Day" (via Think Progress/JANINE DUNMYRE)

Rev. Laura Young, celebrating Planned Parenthood’s “Pink Out Day” (via Think Progress/JANINE DUNMYRE)

Pro-choicers are just so much more open-minded than those preachy pro-lifers, writes Zielinski:

In Ohio, where Young serves as the Director of the Ohio Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, progressive clergy are doing similar work. Young also spends her time answering calls on an “all-options” counseling hotline run by clergy members. Unlike other religious organizations that use the guise of counseling to discourage women from getting an abortion, this line is judgement-free. Women can call looking for spiritual counseling before and after they get an abortion (if they decide to) and will find general support — something often missing in a church setting.

Ah, yes. Pro-life counseling is ‘fake’ but counseling in support of abortion is legitimate. Perhaps if abortion clinics offered counseling for “all options,” these pro-choice clergy wouldn’t need to operate their own counseling hotline. And I wonder why “general support” for abortion is so “often missing in a church setting.” Hmm.

According to these pro-choice clergy, God is in full support of whatever choices women make – including abortion:

“It breaks my heart to know women are sitting in pews across the country feeling shamed, believing that they’re cursed for making this decision,” Young said. “That’s a question I get a lot on the phone, ‘Am I going to hell?’ When God instead is there to support women through it all.”

That women sit in silent pain in churches breaks my heart, too. But there is an answer to this feeling of shame, and it isn’t in encouraging them to feel that God approves of their abortions. Excuse me while I get religious for a moment: When we sin, we should feel ashamed – but Christ offers forgiveness! We are under a curse – but Christ came to free us through His shed blood on the cross.  We are destined for hell – but again, Jesus Christ came to offer Himself as a ransom for us so that through Him, we might be saved. So this is the good news – forgiveness, hope and healing in Jesus Christ. It is not good news to say that – hey – whatever choice you make, God’s totally in support of that. Nowhere in Scripture do we see evidence of this, which causes me to wonder what kind of theology these pro-choice ministers have learned at seminary. God cannot support our sin, including our choice to kill our offspring. But He is faithful to forgive when we genuinely turn from our sin.

Think Progress continues with the narrative about how “great” abortion is:

Molly Marvar, one of the many women who has had an abortion at the Preterm clinic, has been asked to share her story with those who come to witness the Thursday blessing. She called her 2012 procedure a great, caring experience and a privilege.

Molly – who is apparently a holistic health and wellness advocate – views the killing of her child as “great” and a “privilege.” We used to call this kind of thinking ‘disturbed.’ Now it seems to be par for the course. Remember this the next time someone tells you that no one is actually ‘pro-abortion.’

“It was a defining moment for me. But it doesn’t define me,” Marvar said. “It’s really important to me that I speak up about my abortion to help other women.”

At least Marvar is correct that killing one’s child can be a “defining moment” – just probably not in the way she thinks it is.

Her experience also inspired her to fight the stigma around abortion by creating shirts artfully screenprinted with a red “A,” something she describes as a “T-shirt campaign for abortion rights and awareness.” Marvar sees Thursday’s clinic blessing as another platform to help break the religious shame that’s so often paired with abortions.

Shame knows no religion. Advertising a past abortion by wearing a giant “A” on one’s chest will likely do little to remove the stigma of abortion, as similar efforts have shown – possibly because our society (which some say is actually becoming less religious) is already aware on some level that abortion kills a human, and being proud of that is… well, a bit warped, at the very least.

“There is a reverence for life that happens in this clinic,” she said. “And the decision to get an abortion is often a really, really, spiritual decision. Even if someone personally wouldn’t get an abortion, they should at least understand this.”

Straight from someone who has had an abortion – it is a spiritual decision. Not just a medical procedure. Not just a “choice” like anything else. Not like having a cavity filled. It is a decision that can impact the rest of your life – because abortion cannot erase pregnancy. There is no “reverence for life” happening at abortion facilities. There is a disregard for it.

Attempts to “bless” a place where children are killed and women are injured might make for good photo-ops and may assuage some consciences, but religious leaders like Rev. Laura Young may one day find that they have caused great injury to women and children – and to the name of Christ – by supporting and “blessing” abortion.

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