Why I went to Planned Parenthood on Saturday

Yesterday, I took part in a nationwide protest against Planned Parenthood. At over 300 Planned Parenthood clinics across the country, people turned out by the thousands to protest the nation’s leading abortion provider. Planned Parenthood performs over 300,000 abortions every year, and we now know that they are also selling the body parts of the babies that they kill. It is a macabre business that the United States government subsidizes to the tune of nearly a half billion dollars per year. We turned out yesterday to say enough is enough. It is time to end federal funding for this travesty, and it is time to hold Planned Parenthood accountable for any laws they have broken.

Reports say that we had about 500 people show up to the protest in Louisville. That is an overall good showing given that there was a major rally for religious freedom being held simultaneously in Frankfort.

Local news reports about the protest have given disproportionate attention to a couple of counter-protesters that showed up (see video above and below). You might get the impression from these videos that these hecklers had more of an impact than they really did. There were hundreds of us gathered to oppose Planned Parenthood. There were only two of them who rode by on their bicycles flipping-off the prolife demonstrators and yelling at us before getting in the face of the leader of the protest. But by that point the speakers were all finished. So the hecklers had a negligible impact on the ground, but you might miss that if all you saw was the news coverage.

It was interesting to watch prolifers protest. Prolifers are not radical, protesting kinds of people. They are a little less “occupy Wall Street” and a little more “I miss Mayberry.” In other words, these prolife protestors tended to be boring and normal—which means they don’t know what they are doing when it comes to protesting. Several times the Emcee tried to organize a chant, but we never could get it together. It was kind of sad, but it was also kind of humorous. There’s something endearing about the fact that we drew so many inexperienced protestors. That fact alone is an important one.

I was very grateful to see Andrew King deliver a passionate pro-life message in which he preached the gospel to the hundreds who were gathered. It was beautiful. It was also what he regularly does in his “Speak for the Unborn” ministry—a work in which my own church has been deeply involved over the last five years.

Angela Minter of “Sisters for Life” shared her powerful testimony of having multiple abortions two decades ago. She also implored pastors to start speaking up about abortion—to which I want to add a hearty “amen.” Some pastors do tend to steer clear of this topic in their preaching. There are many reasons for this, but for many it is simply a matter of fearing man. So I would add my own exhortation to pastors: Pastor, if you’re trying not to sully your preaching ministry with abortion politics, you need to get sullied. Now. There will come a day when decent people will look back on Planned Parenthood’s barbarism with incredulous horror. They will wonder why so many Christians stood by silently as the atrocity went on year after year. There will be great shame and dishonor then for those who fail to speak clearly now. No one will be impressed with your ability to stay above the fray. They will despise it, and rightly so.

I went to this protest because abortion-on-demand remains the greatest human rights crisis of our time. Over 57 million human babies have been killed legally in our country under the regime of Roe v. Wade. Planned Parenthood is on the cutting edge of this slaughter. It must end.

20 Responses to Why I went to Planned Parenthood on Saturday

  1. Christiane Smith August 24, 2015 at 4:23 am #

    I’m thinking about Jimmy Carter and his vibrant Christian witness. Suppose Christian people were to set about building clinics for indigent women where they could receive the same medical care as PP, minus the abortion services of course? Suppose Christian people could build ‘habitats’ to shelter women who are pregnant who have few or no resources available to them?

    I suppose protesting AGAINST evil seems a good plan, but I think in the Christian faith with the hope that we have for good to come, it might be more productive to actively work FOR good to come. The word ‘choice’ is being claimed by the wrong side, and the ‘answer’ is death to the unborn. Better the word ‘choice’ become a part of a Christian witness where women see hope come that was not there for them before. That’s the ‘choice’ Christian people can work to offer them.

    Imagine how much good can come from moving forward in a positive direction. The ‘witness’ of Christians should always be directed towards the light of Christ. That is more effective against the ‘darkness’ than negativity and condemnation.

    • Denny Burk August 24, 2015 at 10:52 am #

      Christiane, that’s exactly what pro-lifers have been doing for over a generation. We’ve been building and supporting crisis pregnancy centers from coast to coast. Many of the protesters in Louisville yesterday are deeply involved with our local crisis pregnancy center and the services offered to those women after they choose to carry the child to term. It is not credible to criticize pro-lifers as if they only care about protesting. Nothing could be further from the truth.

      • Christiane Smith August 24, 2015 at 1:59 pm #

        Hi DENNY,
        I was thinking more along the lines of ‘trust-building’ within communities where indigent women live and work, which means providing women’s on-going health services (cancer screenings, STD testing, etc.) way before there is any ‘crisis’.

        This would be a kind of medical-missionary work. It differs from ‘crisis’ intervention in that a bond is formed between Christian witnesses and the indigent women of a community prior to ‘crisis’, where a nurse or doctor’s name is already honored in the home of a woman who knows there is someone to whom she may turn for guidance.

        In the Jewish religion, there is a form of loving-kindness that anticipates the needs of the vulnerable who are to receive it (the chesed of God). In our Christian faith, we also understand to be ‘with’ the vulnerable well before that cross-roads where they face a decision involving life and death.

        I’m speaking up for an EXTENSION of Christian witness, Denny.
        I’m not criticizing people who openly take a stand for pro-life issues.

      • buddyglass August 24, 2015 at 6:03 pm #

        I’m all for crisis pregnancy centers, but they’re not exactly what she called for. She said “clinics for indigent women where they could receive the same medical care as PP, minus the abortion services of course”.

        • Esther O'Reilly August 25, 2015 at 10:11 am #

          Planned Parenthood does not have the wherewithal to provide mammograms. This was investigated years ago.

          • Ian Shaw August 26, 2015 at 8:48 am #

            This is truth.

          • buddyglass August 26, 2015 at 2:55 pm #

            Presumably they do *something* other than abortions, right? What exactly are people talking about when they lament the health care women are going to miss out on if PP gets canned? Pap smears? STD testing? Subsidized birth control?

            • Ian Shaw August 27, 2015 at 7:47 am #

              Obamacare already subsidizes birth control for women and annual exams don’t cost you anything. There are other clinics that have OBGYN’s that offer those services for women and yet do not provide abortions. The notion that women cannot get “non-abortion” women’s health services outside of PP is ludicrous.

              • buddyglass August 27, 2015 at 4:50 pm #

                You’re arguing with something I didn’t say. Christiane wanted clinics that do everything PP does except abortions. Denny responded by mentioning crisis pregnancy centers. Cris pregnancy centers don’t fit Christiane’s bill.

                So you’re saying that people who complain about low-income women being cut off from health care if PP can no longer receive Medicaid payments is 100% bogus?

                I can see an argument from proximity. Maybe the only place offering those services (that accepts Medicaid) that’s is geographically near to some women is a PP-affiliated clinic.

                • Christiane Smith August 27, 2015 at 8:57 pm #

                  THIS is what Christiane wants people to think about:

                  “Hi DENNY,
                  I was thinking more along the lines of ‘trust-building’ within communities where indigent women live and work, which means providing women’s on-going health services (cancer screenings, STD testing, etc.) way before there is any ‘crisis’.

                  This would be a kind of medical-missionary work. It differs from ‘crisis’ intervention in that a bond is formed between Christian witnesses and the indigent women of a community prior to ‘crisis’, where a nurse or doctor’s name is already honored in the home of a woman who knows there is someone to whom she may turn for guidance.

                  In the Jewish religion, there is a form of loving-kindness that anticipates the needs of the vulnerable who are to receive it (the chesed of God). In our Christian faith, we also understand to be ‘with’ the vulnerable well before that cross-roads where they face a decision involving life and death.

                  I’m speaking up for an EXTENSION of Christian witness, Denny.
                  I’m not criticizing people who openly take a stand for pro-life issues.”

            • Esther O'Reilly August 27, 2015 at 3:57 pm #

              “What exactly are people talking about when they lament the health care women are going to miss out on if PP gets canned?”

              You’re catching on.

    • sean August 24, 2015 at 10:54 am #

      You don’t have to suppose that Christians set about building clinics for indigent women, Christiane, they’re already doing it by the thousands. In fact, in most states, they outnumber PP clinics more than 3 to 1.

  2. Ian Shaw August 24, 2015 at 8:12 am #

    I wonder what my ‘Argument and Persuasion’ professor would have said regarding the validity of one’s argument where your entire premise and support is summed up by a middle finger…

    No surprise about the news coverage though. Way to push forward on this Denny. Did you hear the story about what Bobby Jindal did at his house (the governors mansion) the other day?

    • James Stanton August 25, 2015 at 1:46 pm #

      If you reduce the entirety of the opposition’s argument to one or two people who raised a middle finger… then I suppose this might mean something.

      One thing to remember about the state of our news media.. they feel they have to report balance even when there is clear cut truth. We see this time after time with regards to political issues of a partisan nature. The media bends over backwards to try to present truth as if there are competing positions that are equal and valid.

      • Ian Shaw August 25, 2015 at 4:50 pm #

        Liberals and pro-abortion supporters reduce the entirety of the pro-life message to “war on women”, so I guess we’re on equal footing now.

        Media does do that, but “truth” by definition, excludes. To say that all positions are equal and valid flies in the face of the law of non-contradiction. sigh…

  3. Ben Carmack August 24, 2015 at 11:17 am #

    I think we should have had a drum circle.

    Smiling,

  4. Hank Willemsma August 24, 2015 at 11:39 pm #

    Hi,Denny,
    As a Pastor I spoke directly to this issue in my message yesterday ,centered on Philippians 2;9, in both morning and evening services. I wanted to share a poem that a elderly German woman gave me some years ago before she went home to The Lord. I have kept it in my Bible, it speaks for itself and directly to this atrocity, it’s entitled “The Passenger “( Author uncertain)

    “I found myself in anger, I cried out in despair
    I prayed, ‘Lord let them hear me! Let one person care!’
    I raised my voice to heaven as the train kept moving on.
    As we passed behind the church yard I could hear the worship songs.
    I cried out all the louder to the Christians there inside
    but they raised the chorus louder not hearing me outside.
    I knew they heard the whistle and the clacking of the tracks,
    They knew that I was going to die and still they turned their backs.
    I said, ‘Father in heaven how can your people be
    so very hard of hearing to the cry of one like me?’
    I shouted, ‘please have mercy! Just a prayer before I die!’
    But they sang a little louder to the Holy One on high.
    They raised their hands to heaven but blood was dripping down
    The blood of all the innocent their voices tried to drown.
    They have devotions daily, they function in My name
    And they never realized IT WAS I UPON THAT TRAIN.”

    It concludes,’ For as much as you’ve done it to the least of my brethren, you have done to Me.”
    Jesus Christ

    Needless to say I shared this also !

  5. Christiane Smith August 27, 2015 at 9:10 pm #

    If the Church wants to establish a stronger witness to people who are vulnerable, then the Church must do what Our Lord Himself did: He dwelt among us.
    If Christian people want to affect change in the lives of vulnerable people, then the Church must establish a strong presence in those lives, and do it way before crises come.
    If Christians want to help the working poor make major medical decisions concerning ‘right to life’ vs. abortion, then the Church’s presence in the lives of the working poor will need to be a medical presence as well as a Christian presence . . . way before ‘crises’ come, and strong enough so that the names of Christian medical missionaries (physicians and nurses) will be honored already in the homes of the vulnerable as people who can be counted on to care for them in a crisis.

    Talk is cheap.
    Bringing the Church into the midst of our inner cities will not be cheap, but it may in the end be the only real answer to saving lives . . . and souls.

    People can say that there are community clinics already to serve the poor . . . yes, but they don’t have any reason not to refer folks to abortion clinics if the patient wants this done. The ONLY way to affect lives is to ‘be present’ to those lives with the kind of caring that anticipates the needs of the most vulnerable. The cost: not to be reckoned, dear people . . . not to be reckoned. Our Lord didn’t. He gave everything. So should those who follow Him be willing to do. Not ‘practical’? no . . . it isn’t . . . not at all

    • Esther O'Reilly August 30, 2015 at 8:49 pm #

      “They don’t have any reason not to refer folks to abortion clinics if the patient wants this done.”

      Besides the fact that it’s murder, you mean?

      • Christiane Smith August 31, 2015 at 10:54 am #

        Hi ESTHER,
        that seems to be at the heart of the issue, yes . . . in the Christian context, ‘life’ from conception to natural death is sacred, God-given . . . to willfully choose to end life is considered a great sin

        not all Christian people believe this, as many still hold to the death penalty as valid, even though the murderer can be safely contained in prison for the duration of life

        reverence for ‘life’ in all of Creation is tied into this belief: “The life of every living thing is in His hand, as well as the breath of all mankind.” (Job 12:10)
        that ‘life’ pre-born is sacred and in the Hand of God is celebrated in this verse: ”
        “This is what the LORD says– your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: I am the LORD, the Maker of all things. . . ” (from Isaiah 44:24)

        ‘willfully’ choosing to end the life of another . . . how many women are at peace with their decision to abort their child, Esther . . . my guess from interviews ‘post abortion’ is that many women were not, if anything they were frightened, alone, confused, and distraught about their situation . . . and in great need of Christ’s compassion PRIOR to their crisis . . .

        two viewpoints: one centered on a return to the ‘old days’ pre-Roe v. Wade as a way to ‘end’ abortions

        the other viewpoint: changing hearts WAY before crises come

        one of these viewpoints is for those who lack ‘patience’, long-suffering, compassion, loving-kindness, etc., such a viewpoint attracts those who are stridently impatient towards all who fall below their level of righteousness . . . what remains? contempt for ‘those sinners’ and ‘just’ punishment

        the other viewpoint REQUIRES these much needed gifts of the fruit of the Holy Spirit in those who are involved in any Christian outreach to hurting people because those who reach out are coming bringing with them the Peace of Christ to calm the waters

        your thoughts?

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