In a city notorious for its love of music, food and life, death of the unborn is becoming a fear for many New Orleanians. In response to this threat, the NOLA Needs Peace coalition hosted a rally May 20 at the site of the future Planned Parenthood abortion clinic on South Claiborne Avenue.
Former Planned Parenthood director Abby Johnson, Archbishop Gregory Aymond and others spoke to the hundreds gathered in opposition of the $4.2 million, 7,000-square-foot abortion clinic, scheduled for completion by 2014 or early 2015.
Johnson, a Louisiana native and author of the book “Unplanned,” shared her knowledge gained from a 10-year career inside the abortion goliath.
“Planned Parenthood says they’re about preventing the need for abortion, but let me tell you what happens inside the clinics,” Johnson said. “They are told to sell abortions to women coming in. In fact, at the last budget meeting I had with my supervisor, she looked at me and said, ‘Now we’re going to be doubling the quota of abortions that you’re going to need to provide at your clinic.’
“If they’re about reducing the number of abortions, why in the world do they have a quota for how many you have to sell?” Johnson asked.
In 2011, Planned Parenthood performed 333,964 abortions, averaging 145 abortions for every one adoption referral. It provides approximately one-third of the abortions every year in the United States. While Planned Parenthood’s stated desire is to reduce the number of abortions, it created a mandate that by 2013, every Planned Parenthood affiliate must perform abortions, Johnson said.
Shawna Kimbrough shared a moving testimony about her abortion at 16 years old, expressing her deep regret and conversion.
“It is an exaggeration on Planned Parenthood’s part to say that abortion is what I needed,” Kimbrough said. “Deception, lies, murder and everything in the like flourishes in the dark and in secret. So today, like the sun is beaming down on us, the Son, which is Jesus Christ, is the light that permeates the darkness.”
Abraham Hamilton, a minister with Gideon Fellowship and member of the coalition of pastors involved with NOLA Needs Peace (nolaneedspeace.com), spoke about the eugenic mindset of Planned Parenthood’s founder Margaret Saenger.
“African Americans represent 12 percent of the national population,” Hamilton said. “But unfortunately for us, we make up of over 30 percent of the abortions nationwide. From the very beginning, Margaret Saenger’s Planned Parenthood proposed to systematically eliminate minority populations from the face of the earth. If we continue without knowledge of this fact, we very well may find ourselves in agreement with the systematic elimination of a people.”
Seventy-six percent of Planned Parenthood’s facilities are within walking distance of minority neighborhoods, Johnson said.
“This is no coincidence,” she added. “My brothers and sisters who are African American, it is time for you to stand up. Fifty percent of African-American pregnancies end in abortion. If we don’t start using our voices and using our voices every chance we get, that’s on us.”
Planned Parenthood supporters attended the rally in opposition, waving signs that expressed desire for affordable women’s health care. NOLA Needs Peace offers a list on its website of organizations that offer every service Planned Parenthood promises, except abortions.
“There are plenty of places locally that provide all of the mammograms and breast cancer screenings that women need,” Wendy Vitter said. “They will be here today, they will be here tomorrow to open their doors for anyone who needs breast cancer screening. Planned Parenthood says they promote women’s health. It is the saddest of ironies that they kill over 150,000 females a year. The first step in promoting women’s health is to let them live.”
Archbishop Gregory Aymond addressed the crowd, encouraging the crowd to enthusiastically chant, “God is for life, all the time. All the time, God is for life.”
Archbishop Aymond charged NOLA Needs Peace supporters with the mission to peacefully fight against violence, murder and racism in New Orleans.
“We have to win this new battle of New Orleans,” the archbishop said. “You know in 1815, we won the battle against the British. But today in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 2013, we have a new battle and we have to win it. And with God’s help we can win and with your help we can win.”
Youth also are taking a stand in the battle against abortion, many attending the rally to assist Louisiana Right to Life.
“The youth is the Pro-Life movement’s secret weapon,” said Abby Sticker, president of Dominican High School’s Pro-Life Club and a youth ambassador for life for Louisiana Right to Life. “We have the power to affect how the world treats the unborn, but hearts will only be changed and the war against abortion will only be won if the younger generation is the force behind the battle.”
Archbishop Aymond lauded the vigorous work and commitment from the youth at the rally.
“I want to salute and affirm the young people that are here today,” Aymond said. “My sisters and brothers, your energy, your enthusiasm, your youthfulness means a great deal to us. I must admit, that it was my generation that allowed this abortion thing to take place, but you as the young people of today are making a difference. Your voice is being heard.”
A moment of hope for an abortion-free New Orleans was offered at the rally when attorney Dorinda Bordlee announced that Louisiana Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 57 by Sen. Danny Martiny – proposing the investigation of Planned Parenthood for fraudulent Medicaid activity – passed the Senate floor by a 31-6 vote. Another resolution calling for investigation of Planned Parenthood, House Resolution 105 by Rep. Frank Hoffmann, was passed May 21.
Johnson affirmed the possibility of community efforts hindering the opening of the new Planned Parenthood clinic.
“Guys, this is our time,” Johnson said. “Let me tell you what happened inside of my own affiliate, the one that wants to build this clinic. In Huntsville, Texas, they wanted to build an abortion facility. But the community came together. There was such an incredible uprising from the community. People looking evil in the face, saying ‘We don’t want you here.’ That clinic never even broke ground. What an amazing waste of money it’s going to be for them when they never even break ground on this piece of property back here.”
Benjamin Clapper, executive director for Louisiana Right to Life and a leader of NOLA Needs Peace, encouraged supporters to become active in the campaign to bring about peace in New Orleans.
“Make sure you’re doing something every day to make a difference, so that in two years we can look back and think of this property as a memory instead of a place that is going to be destroying lives and New Orleanians.”
For ways to get involved with the coalition, visit their website www.nolaneedspeace.com.
Lindsey Frechou can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.