COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio chapter of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice will be holding an interfaith gathering next month outside of a Planned Parenthood facility to “bless” its work and the mothers who come for an abortion.
“Anti-abortion advocates do not have the monopoly on faith or God,” the event page claims. “Many faith leaders and people of faith hold that accessing and providing abortions are good and godly decisions.”
The gathering will be held on Nov. 9 at the East Columbus Surgical Center, which, according to its website, offers abortions up to 19 weeks, 6 days (nearly 5 months) gestation. Costs for an abortion vary based on gestational progression, from $540 to $1,100.
“East Health Center encourages parental involvement and complies with the law requiring parental consent or judicial bypass for minors (age 17 and younger) seeking an abortion. If you are under the age of 18 and want to have an abortion without your parents’ consent, we can give you information about judicial bypass during your education visit,” it also outlines.
Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio says that the event, called “Holy Ground: Blessing the Sacred Space of Decision,” will celebrate “conscience and moral decision-making” surrounding the issue of abortion, and will provide a means for “progressive voices of faith” to speak in support of what they termed “reproductive health care.”
“During this clinic blessing, participants will gather with local faith leaders and guests to ask for God’s blessing upon Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio’s East Columbus Surgical facility, the abortion providers and staff, and all those who pass through the center,” the event page outlines.
A speech will also be delivered by Susan Smith of Crazy Faith Ministries, who formerly led Advent United Church of Christ in Columbus.
As previously reported, this is not the first time that the Washington-based Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC) has held gatherings outside of abortion facilities. In 2015, it sought to “bless” PreTerm in Cleveland, as the outlet Think Progress reported that the group hoped its efforts would protect the facility from “preachy protesters, as well as encourage the strength and bravery of those providing and relying on its services.”
Last year, the group was also part of an interfaith gathering in Washington, D.C., where it similarly sought to ask God’s blessing upon a Planned Parenthood facility. The event featured Jewish, Islamic and Hindu voices, as well as those professing to be Christian.
The leaders of the RCRC had also penned an article in the Washington Post in 2014 that claimed that “Reverends Like Us Should Never Oppose Access to Abortion or Sex Ed”—an assertion that was refuted by pro-life leaders.
“How can you not defend life when you read in Jeremiah the fifth chapter, ‘Before you were formed in your mother’s womb, I knew you?’” asked Clenard Childress, pastor of New Calvary Baptist Church in Montclair, N.J. and director of the Life Education and Resource Network (LEARN). “I was already somebody in God before I was in the womb. … The pulpit must reconcile themselves to that verse.”
“It’s obvious, due to the silence of the Church, this encroachment on America has brought this detriment and this holocaust to our land, and the Church will be held responsible,” he said. “The Scriptures teach that judgment first begins at the house of God, yet they think it begins in the Congress or the White House—no, it begins with us. And we have been too silent on this issue.”