Readers may remember that Sherry and I were in Houston last week for a series of talks for the Companions of the Cross. On my way from the airport, Fr. Francis took me to the Catholic Charismatic Center that the Companions direct. Within a mile or so of the place we passed the University of Houston, and, right next to the freeway, a large office building that he said was being converted to the largest abortion clinic in the country.
The building will house Houston Planned Parenthood, and among the services offered in the 78,000 square-foot building will be about 4,000 abortions annually.
Fr. Francis mentioned that there was going to be a large protest held outside the building on Martin Luther King, Jr. day. Here's an article about the protest, with a few highlights.
Organized by prayer leader Lou Engle, The Call to Conscience will begin at 9:30 a.m. Monday with a prayer rally near the site of a planned six-story, 78,000 square-foot headquarters for Planned Parenthood Houston, which will sit in the center of four minority neighborhoods. The facility is scheduled to open in the spring, and will include 15 exam rooms, almost twice as many as are in the current clinic, and an ambulatory surgical center that pro-life activists say will be used for late-term abortions.
The prayer rally will be followed by a silent march through the neighborhoods surrounding the clinic site. Engle, founder of The Call and The Call to Action, which is coordinating the protest, said three of the four communities are predominantly Hispanic, and the other is largely African-American. The Guttmacher Institute, which keeps abortion statistics, estimates that more than half of all abortions are performed on black and Hispanic women.
"We felt like the Lord was saying to us: ‘This is not right. You need to raise up a prophetic witness against it,'" Engle said. "We need to mobilize prayer, and we need to use it as an occasion to subpoena the conscience of the nation because it is really targeting minorities."
Engle said his group hopes to see construction halted on the abortion clinic, which activists say will be the second-largest in the world after China. But he also hopes the rally will expose what he sees as a racist attempt to target black and Hispanic women to have abortions. Engle said one of the objectives of Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger was to "exterminate the Negro population," as she wrote in a 1939 letter.
In a statement released Wednesday, Planned Parenthood of Houston and Southeast Texas said the new, larger facility was needed to assist the growing number of uninsured residents in the area.
This part of the article really caught my attention. I have read similar accounts of people involved in the abortion process suddenly coming to terms with what is actually happening - the ending of a human life - and quitting their jobs and becoming part of the pro-life movement.
Also attending the rally will be Abby Johnson, former director of a Planned Parenthood facility in Houston. She quit her job and joined the pro-life movement last fall after witnessing for the first time an ultrasound during an abortion procedure.
"I could see the whole profile of the baby 13 weeks head to foot," she said, according to ABC News. "I could see the whole side profile. I could see the probe. I could see the baby try to move away from the probe."
Johnson said the experience changed her forever, and she quit two weeks later.
"That's the result of prayer," Engle said. "It's a radical paradigm shift. I'm calling it a ‘prayerdigm' shift."