An Abomination and A Desecration
Yesterday was the 48th anniversary of Roe v Wade. The Central Ohio community commemorated it in much the same way that we always have. Last Sunday, many churches that we partner with observed Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. Monday through Friday, some of our volunteers went to pray and sidewalk counsel at a local abortion clinic. Yesterday, we participated in the annual Respect Life Mass at St. Joseph Cathedral, celebrated by Bishop Robert J. Brennan and concelebrated by Bishop Edward C. Malesic and several priests. Following the Mass, those in attendance processed over to the West Lawn of the Statehouse where they were joined by others for our event, the Roe Remembrance.
We typically hold the Roe event inside the Atrium. Because of restrictions due to the coronavirus, we held the event outside this year. We applied for and were granted a permit for the West Lawn of the Statehouse. In observance of Statehouse rules, we also applied for and paid for the availability of two Ohio State Highway Patrol officers to provide security. Finally, we arranged for use of Statehouse audio equipment, chairs, etc., knowing that if the day were deemed too cold we would not be able to use that equipment. On Thursday, we were notified that it was going to be too cold, and so we brought the small sound system that GCRTL owns. It is typically able to project to a crowd of 200-300 without difficulty.
As many of you have now heard, a small group of disruptive, hateful, and obscene abortion advocates stormed past the special duty police officer providing security and into the Cathedral during the last part of Bishop Brennan’s homily (a homily is the sermon that follows the reading of the Gospel). They rushed to the front of the Church, shouting explicit and hateful things, frightening families and children, and attempting to reach the altar. As Bishop Brennan noted in his statement, participants in the Mass responded with some seeking to protect the priests and the altar and others kneeling in prayer. The Columbus police responded immediately, and the group was taken outside. Allegedly each had “forgotten” their identification and they were released by the police. Identification will not be difficult, however, as we and our events are frequently the objects of their vulgar, disruptive, violent, and threatening behavior. Please do not think that this is outlier behavior. It is not only tolerated but encouraged by the local abortion industry. One of the group leaders is employed by WHO, a local organization that raises money to pay for abortion; it is reasonable to believe that yesterday’s behavior was used to excite their volunteer and donor base. That same person has been a guest on NARAL Ohio’s podcast and been highlighted by local media for her social justice advocacy work. I hope, but am not confident, that these organizations and the media will immediately repudiate and disentangle themselves from people who would knowingly and intentionally violate the sacred space of a Church during worship.
I left the Mass just after the start of the homily, exiting at the side and (probably) not seeing the group, to set up the Roe Remembrance. From a block away, I saw the numerous squad cars at the Cathedral and communicated with someone inside who called me to let me know what happened. I immediately notified our Ohio State Highway Patrol team of what had happened at the Cathedral and that because the group was not arrested they would likely proceed to the Statehouse to continue their disruption. Because we at GCRTL are very familiar with their behavior, I let the officer know that as I understood it, our permit granted us exclusive use of the grounds, that if protestors want to stand in the background and hold signs, we should let them, but if they became disruptive, I would like them to be removed from the permitted area of the Statehouse grounds and removed to the public sidewalks. There was no dissent to that plan voiced, and I went back to preparations.
Right before the program began, the group attempted to block the access to the West Lawn by blocking the path. I notified the OSHP officer, who dispersed them. Then they began running through our event with voice amplifications and loud noisemakers (sirens, etc.). I asked the OSHP that they be removed, and was told that wouldn’t be possible but that they would be gathered in a grassy area and kept quiet. We began the program a little late, and they used the loud sirens and voice amplification to shout obscene, vulgar, and demeaning things. At one point, they laughed that their sound system was louder than ours. I approached a OSHP officer and noted that Columbus City ordinances prohibit the use of voice amplification that can be heard more than 50 feet and that they should be removed from the grounds we had been granted a permit for. The patrolman indicated that they had not been enforcing the noise ordinance since the summer protests, that they could not remove the group, and that his supervisor was now on scene and talking to them. I was very disappointed in this determination, as I do not think it accurately reflects the terms of the permit we were granted and instead was more applicable to spontaneous or planned, but not permitted, protests. We paid no small amount to host the event at the Statehouse going through the proper channels. I will, however, address that situation separately with the Capital Square Review and Advisory Board. Our streaming team notified me that because of our microphone system feeding directly to video, those watching via the stream could hear our speakers clearly. Our in-person participants had to listen extra carefully and perhaps did not catch every word, but we were able to go forward, ignoring the chaos and hate and violence of the world.
I was disappointed that we were not able to have them removed from an event, an event which is not a rally and not a protest but a somber memorial of the unborn who have died. This was, in essence, a eulogy that was interrupted for over and hour by loud and vulgar protestors. I do want to commend the officers, who took a great deal of abusive and belittling behavior from the protestors calmly and without malice. You may have noticed that their shouts and signs were equally against pro-life activities, faith, and the police. This has also been a consistent theme of their group and organization.
I took some time last night to rest, to pray, to reflect, and to respond to the many people who reached out, either to express shock and outrage, to see if we are ok, to volunteer, and even to donate.
Now, I want to share a few things for those whose hearts are troubled today.
First: Watch our stream of the event. You can see and hear some of the disruptions happening. You should see what it is that they most desperately wanted to drown out and disrupt. If you have original footage or photographs that you are willing to let GCRTL use to document what happened at the Cathedral or the Statehouse, you can email them to us.
Second: I think it is very tempting for many of us to go down the “rabbit hole” to find these people, consume their content on social media, and even share the despicable nature of what they do. There is plenty of it; they are proud of what they do. My recommendation is that you do not do so. The practical reason is that they enjoy and thrive on the attention that their behavior gets. They also profit from it as your searching them out and sharing them gives them more social media visibility and reach. On a more spiritual level, I have long told my volunteers not to be tempted to consume their evil content for the peace of their own souls. They openly profess witchcraft and the occult, and their content is not only shaped by it, but they casually drop references subtle and explicit. Don’t be tempted to open yourself up to that by the desire for more knowledge or seeking to consume the drama. At one point in my speech, they were screaming “Elizabeth, Betty, Beth” hoping that hearing my name would distract me. Don’t let evil distract you.
Third: Don’t back down. They have two goals. The first is to gain infamy and the second is to scare the faithful pro-life into backing down. This was not a protest designed to rally the pro-choice community, it was not geared at passing legislation or promoting public policy, it was not an invitation to the undecided to join them, and it wasn’t a response to an incident. It was intended to terrorize people into staying away from pro-life activities. Unfortunately, it has been somewhat effective. There are a great number of people who have stopped coming to pray and counsel because this is what they face, not only at pro-life events, but in any public setting. For example, another pro-life leader was with his children at a local park and one of these people harassed and filmed him and his children. The good news is that the more people who are prayerfully and peacefully praying, the less likely they are to act out in obscene and ridiculous ways. If you would like information on our sidewalk counseling program, you can sign up here. For our part, we are also not backing down. If anything, we are more confirmed in our efforts to continue with vigorous legal strategy and prayer.
Fourth: Hold those that violate our institutions and churches accountable and insist that the media hold anyone who violates and desecrates accountable. Christians are often quick to forgive this kind of behavior. In general, that is a good thing. We should pray for them and forgive them, irrespective of if they seek forgiveness and prayers. That, however, does not mitigate our responsibility to hold them accountable for willful, organized, and intentional actions that harm or terrorize. The group has publicly proclaimed that they will continue doing this type of thing because it worked. Greater Columbus Right to Life has continued to document interactions and we have made numerous police reports about unsafe, illegal, and inappropriate behavior by pro-abortion activists. We have also worked with legal counsel to respond to and defend our volunteers from harassment and unequal treatment. This can be an expensive and time-consuming prospect. If you have original footage or photographs that you are willing to let GCRTL use to document what happened at the Cathedral or the Statehouse, you can email them to us. If you experienced any physical contact from one of them, please also let us know.
Fifth: Pray. Fast.
On a personal note, over the past few hours, there have been several things that have come to mind. One that is sticking is the words of Jesus in Matthew 24. Usually, in times like these many of us hold fast to Jesus’ words that the world will hate us for the sake of God. Indeed, it is hard not to think of these words when a group storms the Cathedral screaming “I hate you.”
While we welcome any person to join us in pro-life work, I am deeply committed to my own Catholic faith, and a majority of our volunteers are Catholic. I’ve been trying to process my own thoughts and feelings on what happened yesterday, as a pro-life organization leader, as a Catholic person who loves her faith, and as a parishioner at the Cathedral. Some recent restrictions due to the virus and health notwithstanding, I attend Mass 6-7 days a week at the Cathedral. I thought it appropriate here to share them, but with a note that these are my views and sentiments. My initial response to those who are upset or shocked by what has happened is that they have, unfortunately, experienced a small sample of what we regularly experience. It is probably a testament to the way that Bishop Brennan has been outspoken on the need to defend the dignity of all life, including the unborn, that he and the Cathedral and the Respect Life Mass were targeted this year as well. I have great respect for Bishop Brennan, and I appreciate his professional and personal support and prayers. My second response was a frustration that for whatever reason, likely revised city policies on arrests, the perpetrators were not arrested and charged. They instead were released to come target our event, and they have publicly indicated they will continue to target Masses for protest.
Above all of this has been my horror at seeing the Cathedral, a sacred space, desecrated by such evil and hate. It is a small consolation that the perpetrators did so during the homily (sermon) and not the consecration. However, it is also my observation that the Bishop’s homily, while beautiful, went a little longer than normal, and I wonder if the disruption was plotted and intended to disturb the consecration and mercifully did not.
Jesus’ words in Matthew 24, verse 15, speak of the “abomination of desolation.” I have always understood that Jesus’ words were most likely referring to something known to his audience, words taken from the prophet Daniel to describe the Greek King Antioch’s replacing the Jewish twice daily temple sacrifices in Jerusalem with pagan sacrifice. Other traditions have different interpretations of that, and I will leave the theology debates here to the theologians and stick with my own understanding.
This obviously is the exact opposite of what happened at the Cathedral. The faithful were gathered for a Mass lovingly and faithfully concelebrated by two Bishops and several priests with a special pro-life intention. The Respect Life Mass is an opportunity for prayer that hard hearts are softened, a prayer for those who mourn from a past abortion, a prayer for those who have been lost to an abortion, and even a hopeful reminder that we can trust in God’s promises. What happened, however, was an abomination. It was a desecration. Today, many are angry and mourning not just the weight that we share in because of the legacy of Roe v Wade in our broken world, but because the space in which we profess our faith and profess our grief was desecrated by evil and destructive forces.
Our faith will see us through. My Church has long embraced that it, and we, will suffer in this world. It has also told us that our suffering is not without purpose or merit, and that we can lift up that suffering for the salvation of souls. If, like me, your hearts have broken seeing the vulgarity and violence and evil that carried out the attack on the Cathedral and the Roe Remembrance, please allow them also to be broken for the ultimate victims of that evil: our unborn brothers and sisters who, imago Dei, bear the image and likeness of God. Let our hearts break, too, for the fact that evil continues to carry out the carnage of abortion each day and that it is now the moral and policy position of the President of the United States who claims his Catholic faith as he justifies an expansion of abortion in the US and abroad. In our brokenness, let us then resolve, through prayer and fasting, to continue to work to end this great evil and to soften hearts hardened by hate and vitriol.
I have long championed that Columbus should hold a Eucharistic Procession for the end the evil of abortion. For those who may not be familiar with what this means, a very simplified explanation is that Catholics believe that Christ is truly present: body, blood, soul, and divinity, when bread and wine are consecrated during the Mass. We call this the Eucharist or Communion. A Eucharistic Procession, then, is a prayer and procession whereby we take Jesus, present in the form of the host, to another place. Usually it begins and ends at a church or chapel. Note: If you are interested in debating this topic or understanding it better, I would request that we defer those conversations to my free time our of respect for our pro-life mission.
In 2020, I shared this hope with Bishop Brennan. I made this request on the behalf of my Catholic volunteers and the community who are daily attacked by evil for our pro-life work in the way that was made visible to many of you this week. This is no small undertaking, and I trust the discernment of Bishop Brennan in his discernment of the appropriateness of this request. This is obviously something that would appeal more to those who are Catholic, both on our team and the greater Columbus community. I constantly look for ways to invite more faiths to be united in our effort to end abortion, and I am open to ideas from other faith backgrounds; if you have one, send it my way. Several years ago, we worked with the Jewish pro-life association who sent a leader to pray the Jewish prayer of the dead. It was powerful to all gathered.
It is not uncommon to re-consecrate a sacred space after it is attacked. I have already heard from some that they are urging the Bishop do so at the Cathedral. I do not know the guidelines for that to happen, but if it does, I would faithfully attend. I do know that come tomorrow I plan to be sitting in my normal pew at the Cathedral, seeking spiritual healing for the events of this past week, asking forgiveness for the things I have done and failed to do, asking for the strength and the wisdom and healing in the days to come, and worshipping an all-powerful, all-knowing, and always-present God. I hope that each of you are able to do the same in your own churches. Then, on Monday, I will get back to work to continue protecting the most vulnerable.
Photos from the Respect Life Mass or the Roe Remembrance, can be accessed here.
LOOKING FOR MORE INFO ON THE CATHEDRAL AND ROE ATTACKS?
GCRTL Statement (1/23/21)
Update with LTE and Statehouse Complaint (1/28/21)
Response to RCRC (1/29/21)
2019 Ohio Abortion Statistics Released
If you have not heard, Ohio’s abortion statistics report was issued today. Each fall, Ohio’s Department of Health issues abortion statistics for the year prior. The statistics look at various demographic information like where the abortion was performed and where the mother who had the abortion resides. It tracks the methods of abortion –distinguishing between surgical and non-surgical abortions, and it also breaks down types of procedures within the larger subset. It looks at things like the mother’s race and ethnicity, her number of reported prior abortions or live births, her education, her age, and her marital status. You can review a copy of the 2019 Ohio Abortion Statistics online here (warning – it is a larger pdf file). Abortion figures are available to the detail of zip code.
Ohio Abortion numbers
In 2018, Ohio abortions dropped by 468 procedures statewide, from 20,893 abortions in 2017 to 20,425 in 2018. Last year, Ohio abortions dropped by 323 procedures statewide from 20,425 to 20,102. This means that last year, just over 55 babies died each day from abortion in Ohio. Statewide, about 39% of all abortions were conducted non-surgically, most by the abortion pill. Once again, most abortions were performed in an ambulatory surgical facility (18,707), while 1,356 were performed in a non-surgical clinic, and 39 were performed in a hospital. Statewide, the largest number of abortions were performed on women ages 25-29, and once again African American women were disproportionately likely to have an abortion. Among Ohioans who reported their race, white women made up 46.1% of all abortions, black women made up 45.9%, and American Indian, Pacific Islander, and multi-racial made up .3%, 3.6%, and 4.1%. Eighty-two percent of women having an abortion report being not married (single, separated, divorced, or widowed). About 10.5% were married, and 7% did not report their marital status. Ninety-five abortions were reported as being performed after 21 weeks of gestation. Approximately 6% reported Hispanic ethnicity.
Local abortion numbers
Ohio measures abortion statistics in two ways. One is by the total number performed in the county and one is by the number of abortions performed on women living in a county. In Ohio, known abortion clinics exist in only a few counties: Franklin (2), Cuyahoga (2), Lucas (1), Summit (1), Montgomery (1), and Hamilton (1). Each year, a few abortions are generally reported outside of those settings. We generally presume that those occur in a hospital setting, but we cannot know for sure. As pro-life people, our goal is not only to see the total number of abortions decline, but also the number of abortions occurring in our community and the number performed on women living in our communities. In last year’s statistics, we had about six months with two abortion clinics that performed surgical and medication abortions, about a month where only one clinic was open that performed surgical and medication abortions, about two and a half months when one dual and one medication-only clinic was open, and about two and a half months when one dual and two medication only clinics were open. In 2019, the statistics reflect having all three clinics open: one offering both types of abortions and two offering medication only. Thus, while it is a disappointment, it is not a surprise that abortions slightly increased in central Ohio. In addition, we tend to see fairly cyclical process of large drops over a few years and then a small increase. There are two ways to end abortion: the demand side and the supply side, and we need to work on both.
In 2018, there were 3706 abortions that were performed in central Ohio, or about 10 each day. Last year, there were 3933 abortions performed in central Ohio. That means 76 each week and just under 11 each day. That is an increase of 227 from the year before, but still a decrease of nearly 30% over the past ten years. Last year, nearly 70% of the abortions performed in Central Ohio were non-surgical, and almost all of them were performed by the abortion pill. Given that two additional pill-only clinics were available last year, this is not surprising, but it is concerning. Just four years ago, medication abortion was less than 5% of all abortions happening in our community. It also indicates that we have a great need to increase awareness and advocacy of the abortion pill reversal program. GCRTL Sidewalk Counselors are working to make sure that every woman who enters an abortion clinic has an opportunity to learn about abortion pill reversal. This continues to be highly critical work.
Looking at the counties that make up the GCRTL area, we saw two counties (Fairfield and Union) with decreases and six with increases (Delaware, Franklin, Licking, Madison, Morrow, and Pickaway). However, we always remind our communities that this is just a snapshot of one statistic, and it does not reflect the whole picture of what we see in the community. Many areas of central Ohio are growing at a rapid pace, and year-to-year numbers can fluctuate quite significantly. Part of the reason that we look at these numbers is to know where to suggest programs and projects. In the next few months, we will be updating our abortion rate project which looks at abortion compared to population and live births. That said, we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us.
As always, we drew our figures from statistics provided by the Ohio Department of Health and note that these figures only include induced abortions reported to the Ohio Department of Health. From time to time, we or they may need to update our numbers because of data entry or other problems. There may be some duplication caused by failed medical abortions that were later performed as surgical. The numbers also include attempted abortions that failed and resulted in a live birth through abortion pill failure or abortion pill reversal. The figures do not include any abortions that were not reported to the Ohio Department of Health, either because they doctor failed to report or because the pills were obtained illegally. These statistics may also include a small number of pregnancies that were lost in a procedure taken to preserve a mother’s life, even if abortion was not the intended or wanted result. Finally, we often get some questions regarding how contraceptives or the morning after pill are counted in this report. While many forms of contraception and the morning after pill contain a mechanism that could prevent a fertilized egg from establishing in the uterine lining, the Ohio Abortion statistics only include those established pregnancies which are knowingly terminated.
It was no accident
It is a great day, 47 years in the making, to see Founder’s closed permanently. You may remember that just two years ago, Founder’s closed temporarily as the clinic owners and management were in conflict. That ended with the management opening a new clinic (Your Choice). Founder’s reopened several months later. I continue to pray for the men and women who owned, worked at, volunteered with, or sought services at Founder’s Women’s Health, and I know that I am joined by many in the community.
Note: If any former abortion workers, volunteers, or supporters are reading this and would like to talk to someone, you are welcome to give us a call and we will listen or refer you to help. We also know that there are many women and men who are hurting following their own abortions and news of Founder’s closing may bring that pain forward. Help, forgiveness, and healing are available. You can find free, confidential help by contacting our office or visiting our website.
While we celebrate this day, I want to make it very clear that we are not here by accident; we are here because of countless people in our community who have prayed, fasted, offered up sufferings and sacrifices, and served those most in need. Our goal has always been to give women a better choice and end abortion, and we have made tremendous strides in that goal. As more and more women have received help and support, we have seen clinic after clinic that provide and promote abortions close in our community – not because of changes in laws and not because of changes in the courts, but because of changes in hearts and culture.
Seven years ago, I stepped down from the Board of Trustees to accept the position of executive director. At that time, we made the strategic but surprising decision to step back from political action to focus on building up individuals, families, churches, and communities. I am not one to see signs everywhere, but my first event as ED of GCRTL was the “Roe Rally” on the 40th anniversary of Roe V Wade. I remember feeling a great heaviness at the role I was taking on, but also feeling hopeful – mindful of the Biblical symbolism of 40 on that 40th Anniversary.
I decided – with the brash naivete that can only come from inexperience, that my goal at GCRTL was to see Founder’s – Ohio’s first abortion clinic, close. My predecessor started a sidewalk program that met mostly on weekends, and I decided that we would instead build a team to cover the clinics every day and every hour that Founder’s was open and then every day and every hour we could cover the other clinics. The plan was crazy, naïve, and impossible.
You may have heard the line, “We plan and God laughs…” Well, within my first week in this role, Complete Healthcare for Women, which at the time performed abortions, announced an expansion into Pickerington. Immediately, we rallied the local community and we continued our dedication to prayer, fasting, and counseling, focusing on the Pickerington and Cleveland Avenue locations. At that time, we also began identifying the dirty secrets of the abortion industry and making them public. By the end of 2014, Complete Healthcare for Women ceased doing abortions, one of the owners of Founder’s was indicted on charges of child pornography, and numerous cases of medical malpractice and filthy conditions were brought to light. We started encountering more and more women who would choose life when presented with prayerful, peaceful activism and options. Year after year, abortions declined significantly in central Ohio, and most years our region led the state in reductions. Specifically, we have reduced abortions by 40%. There have been 13,042 fewer abortions that have happened in central Ohio than had our numbers remained static at 2012 levels. Comparably, statewide, the decline has only been 20% and the total state reduction in abortions has been 25,470. This is a jaw-dropping impact.
In the past seven years, there have been many moments where I have wondered if what we are doing is worth it. I’ve seen great volunteers leave for other missions, I’ve seen great volunteers get burned out, and I’ve seen casual volunteers turn into all-stars. I’ve cried with women hemorrhaging after their abortions, with women who regret their abortion, and with fathers who desperately wanted their children, and I’ve wept at the cold and hard-heartedness of those who are intent on abortion. We have been harassed and cursed by abortion advocates. We’ve seen division and squabbling and political factions. I’ve made mistakes by the handful. It hasn’t all been bad. I’ve met the most incredible, faith-filled people who give me more grace and more benefit of the doubt than I deserve. Together, we’ve celebrated women who turned away from their abortion appointments and met babies whose families credit our team with their babies’ lives. We’ve celebrated legislative and legal victories, and weathered through disappointments. But still, sometimes I wonder, has it been worth it?
Friends, it is worth it. Seven years ago, I felt the heaviness of 40 years of abortion and the toll it has taken on our community and our country. I still feel it. However, it is not lost on me that seven years after all of you stepped up to support my crazy, naïve, impossible plan to see Ohio’s first abortion clinic close, it has, because all things are possible with God and this amazing community striving to do His work.
So today I’m going to ask you to back me in another crazy, naïve, impossible (but totally possible) plan. Planned Parenthood’s abortion clinic on East Main Street opened its doors in 1999. We’ve already shown that a steady campaign of prayer, peaceful presence, public information, and offering life-affirming assistance can close Ohio’s first abortion clinic; now let’s show up until we close Ohio’s biggest abortion clinic.
We have a great model here in central Ohio; now all we need is your help. I said that the symbolism has not been lost on me. After 47 years in business, Ohio’s first abortion clinic closed during my 7th year work anniversary, but it also closed 7 days before my 40th birthday. I’m thankful to God for the most perfect gift He could have sent me.
But I’m asking you to consider helping me to celebrate my birthday by helping others to celebrate theirs. I’m asking for 40 new prayer partners and sidewalk ministers to step up to help me with this crazy, naïve, and impossible (but totally possible) plan. Our world is standing with Planned Parenthood, but for my birthday, I’m asking you to stand outside of Planned Parenthood. Sign up to join our sidewalk team, find another volunteer role, or support our work with a donation. Because with God, all things are possible!
A Fitting Eulogy
Two weeks ago, information suggesting that Founder’s abortion clinic was closing first surfaced with news that the building had sold, and the last remaining licensed physician was retiring. Last week, a historically reliable source indicated that the clinic’s last day would be June 30th. Yesterday, a small group of our volunteers gathered to pray, observing that no patients entered or exited the building. Last evening, I encountered an employee of LabCorp who indicated that there would not be any more pickups at this location. Today, an employee of Founder’s confirmed that the clinic has closed permanently and that all patients would be referred to another location.
Thus, after 47 years in operation, 30 of them at 1243 E Broad Street, Ohio’s first abortion clinic is out of business. This closure is both a real and a symbolic victory for the unborn children of our community and the pro-life advocates who have been steadfast in their efforts to bring prayer, witness, and real help to the sidewalks outside of Founder’s.
Before we celebrate this wonderful news, we should pause for a few moments to remember the unborn children who have died at Founder’s and those who mourn them. While we cannot know the numbers, a reasonable calculated from available reports suggests that between 75,000 and 100,000 abortions were committed at the current location and perhaps as many as 25,000 to 50,000 (or more) at previous locations.
Each person, including the unborn, is of infinite value, and any effort to quantify a loss of this magnitude will fall short. At the same time, we– to one degree or another – have become so complacent and numb to the reality of abortion that perhaps we need to contemplate that number a little more. Let it rest on your heart for a moment that in one building, in one town, in one state, 75,000 to 100,000 unborn babies were intentionally brought for the purpose of causing their death. We have much to mourn, much to remember, and much to change.
I have struggled to find the words to mark this occasion – one that bring such disparate emotions. I am still a bit speechless, but I have found inspiration in the words of two men whose pro-life legacy shines brightly today. Twenty-five years ago, Pope St. John Paul II, addressing an audience primarily of women who had undergone abortions, said, “Certainly what happened was and remains terribly wrong. But do not give in to discouragement and do not lose hope. (EV, 99).” Ten years prior to that, former President Ronald Reagan wrote a eulogy for the fetal remains of 16,433 aborted babies that were found in an abandoned waste drum in Los Angeles, CA. After an intense legal battle, the babies were given humane burial. In his eulogy, Reagan wrote, “From these innocent dead, let us take increased devotion to the cause of restoring the rights of the unborn.”
In our time and in our context, I can give no more fitting eulogy than what has already been written:
What happened here was and remains terribly wrong, but do not give in to discouragement and do not lose hope. From these innocent dead, let us take devotion to the cause of restoring the rights of the unborn. Amen.
Founder’s is Closed: Thanks be to God.
This did not happen by accident or good fortune; it happened because we are doing good work in Ohio. Read more about our crazy, naive, and impossible plan to close Founders.
A final note: If we estimate as many as 150,000 abortions were committed at Founders, we know that means there are countless men and women who are mourning the loss of a child lost to abortion. For all who struggle, especially those who received abortions at Founder's, there are many places that you can access free and confidential post abortion support. Find many of them on our website.
Another Day, Another $15,311 in unpaid bills
Several years ago, Greater Columbus Right to Life broke news that T&S Management, an organization that has been in the abortion business for several decades in Ohio, had racked up millions of dollars in unpaid taxes, fees, and penalties to local, state, and federal tax entities, resulting in numerous lawsuits and liens. This includes a precipae for a tax lien from the Ohio Department of Taxation filed in March of 2020 for $973209.64. T&S Management is the parent company owned by nurse Terrie Hubbard and her husband that owned several abortion clinics in Ohio under the name/brand “Capital Care Network.” In 2012, the Columbus Capital Care Network closed, and T&S Management began managing the operations at Founder’s abortion clinic, Ohio’s first abortion clinic. It is notable that Founder’s is rumored to soon close, and according to sources familiar with the clinic operations, the owners of T&S Management owe the physicians hundreds of thousands of dollars because of unpaid vendors and other lapses.
In 2018, possibly in part to the news that we were breaking to the public about the operational dysfunction of the clinic, the owners and management of Founder’s separated, resulting in litigation that exposed many internal practices and confirmed our sense of the breadth of the fraud and unethical behavior. At that time, the principal at T&S opened a new abortion pill-only clinic on Karl Road in Columbus, named “Your Choice Healthcare.” Around the same time, an intense legal battle arose around the operating permit of the Capital Care Network of Toledo surgical license and the clinic’s handling of a patient with a potentially perforated bowel resulted in a significant fine by the Ohio Department of Health. Capital Care Network of Toledo subsequently ‘changed ownership’ to someone who is believed to be a family member of the original owner and the new clinic “Capital Care of Toledo” began to operate as an abortion-pill only clinic. The semi-closure and subsequently-closely related reopening of a new facility in many ways mirrored what happened after Capital Care Network of Cuyahoga Falls was shut down by the DEA and the Ohio Department of Health for a variety of infractions including improper handling of medicine and stealing patient blood. That clinic is now run by a former CCN abortion provider.
If there was any doubt that not paying the bills at Founder’s was an oversight rather than a standard practice of the group running Your Choice and affiliated clinics, that was put to rest earlier this week as LabCorp filed a lawsuit in the Columbus Court of Common Please citing more than $15,311 in unpaid laboratory bills from March through December of 2019.
There is massive political and cultural pressure to insulate the abortion industry from being held to the same standards that other businesses, especially those what provide medical services, provide. What we really see, time and time again, is that their business practices are as distorted and disgusting as the practice of abortion itself.
We will continue to insist that elected and public officials hold abortion clinics accountable. At a minimum, Your Choice and its related entities should be investigated to see if their actions rise to the level of fraud and if it is a coordinated effort. At this rate, however, it is possible that the clinic will close because no one will do business with them anymore because of their habit of not paying their bills.
Thank you to everyone who has supported the ongoing work of Greater Columbus Right to Life, where we work every day to bring the light of Christ to the dark places where abortion exists and to shine a light on the practices society would hide. The cancellation of our banquet this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic means that we are asking our supporters to acknowledge that our work is "essential" even if our banquet was not. You can help us keep the lights on by donating online or mailing your gift to: GCRTL; 208 E State Street, 3rd Floor; Columbus, OH 43215.
Laws with Unintended Consequences: Amendments to SB 1 Help Unlawful Abortion Clinics
Despite many, many gains, pro-life voices have been frustrated in recent weeks and months. You may remember federal judges declaring abortion an essential service, exempting surgical abortion clinics from orders of Director Acton and Attorney General Yost to cease under Ohio’s initial emergency orders on non-essential and non-emergency procedures. Not long ago, we were gutted to learn that infamous abortion provider Martin Haskell was able to re-open his late-term Dayton abortion clinic again just days after losing a lengthy legal battle over his operating without a transport agreement or a variance. How did he do it? Simply by changing a few details and applying for a new permit because Ohio law says that the ODH director “shall” issue a license to anyone who submits the correct paperwork (ORC 3702.30(D))**. Maddening.
But, if you think that it is difficult to shut down abortion clinics (or keep them from opening) now, I have some bad news: an unintended consequence of amendments the Ohio House added to SB1, a regulatory reform bill, seem to prevent the Ohio Department of Health from closing any abortion clinic (or licensed facility) for more than 14 days.
On its surface, SB 1 has nothing to do with abortion. It is a regulatory reform bill that deals with regulations that go through a little-known committee called the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR). For those of you who are not yet tired of home-school for this year, you can learn a little more about JCARR here. It is fairly unique to Ohio and an really good example of legislative oversight of the executive branch. For that reason (and because the timing was right), Ohio House Republicans who have expressed strong concerns with the Governor’s response to the Coronavirus, amended the bill to include several provisions that to specifically limit any orders of the Ohio Department of Health to 14 days unless the orders are approved by a supermajority of JCARR, with three of five members from each of the House and the Senate approving of the orders. The amendments also create a new enforcement mechanism that gives legal standing to any Ohioans to sue under the law and it backdates the law’s effective date to include the current coronavirus response. They then sent it back to the Senate.
To say that this has caused a great deal of political reactions is an understatement. First, those who are opposed to the pace that Ohio’s economy is reopening are strong proponents of the amendments and are flooding Senate offices with demands to pass the bill. This, by the way, includes several pro-life groups in Ohio. Others have expressed concern with the constitutionality of the amendments on several fronts, including that you can’t pass retroactive laws and that laws are not effective for 90 days unless they contain an “emergency clause” and have a supermajority vote. Others have noted that this is fundamental shift in how JCARR functions. Governor DeWine has indicated that he will veto the bill.
If you are still reading this deep dive into Ohio’s politics, you probably want to know why on earth GCRTL would wade into this mess and how it has anything to do with making it even more difficult to close down abortion clinics.
Well, to explain, the law is not interpreted by how it is intended, but in how it is written. The person who first said, “the devil is in the details” was probably talking about legal or legislative writing, because while it seems pretty obvious that the intention of the House was not to make it harder to close abortion clinics, the language they used actually said, “No order of the department shall be effective for a period exceeding fourteen days, except with the approval of the joint committee on agency rule review, as described in section 101.36 of the Revised Code” (if you want to look it up yourself, it starts at line 638 - look for the "House- Passed" version). Unfortunately, it didn’t say “in the instance of pandemics” or even “for the purpose of this section….” It said, “No order.” What most people do not realize is that when the Department of Health takes action to close an abortion clinic (and other licensed facilities), it does so by order of the Director of the Department of Health. You can read my letter to President Obhof detailing these concerns here, and you can see the attachments I included here and here and here. I think it is pretty clear that this would apply to abortion clinics.
Those who are familiar with the Gosnell story know that a huge part of the reason that he was able to operate in such filth and callousness was in very large part due to the politicization of the oversight work of the Pennsylvania Health Department. That is, frankly, something that we cannot allow to happen here in Ohio. Pro-life voices currently have a majority in both the House and the Senate, but that could change at any time. If that were to happen, a pro-abortion majority in either chamber could allow an order to close a clinic to expire after 14 days simply by refusing to meet.
With that in mind, it seems meaningful that this week marks the 7th anniversary of the day when Philadelphia abortion provider Kermit Gosnell was found guilty of the first degree murder of three infants born alive after attempted abortions, one count of involuntary manslaughter in the death of his patient: Karnamaya Mongar, and hundreds of lesser charges. We cannot let Ohio go down that path.
There is zero reason to think that this was an intended effect of SB1, and if the process had allowed for more public input, I do not think that the House would have knowingly passed language that left so much concerning ambiguity, but this is the language that is before the Senate, and their options are to concur (agree with) or not to the House amendments.
If you would like to call or email your Senator and tell him or her that you are pro-life and do not want them to pass SB 1 until they can be sure it would not limit the Director’s authority to close abortion clinics or other licensed facilities that endanger the health and safety or prey on the vulnerable, you can find contact information here.
**Note that some browsers occasionally have problems with direct links to the revised code. If you pull up an "empty" file at this link, click on the "Ohio Revised Code" link and then click "Title 37." That will open up the section of the code that governs health. If you click on "3702 Hospital Assurance" and then scroll down to 3702.30 you will reach the correct section of the code. The applicable line is line (D).
Central Ohio Abortion Rate 2018
The abortion rate in Central Ohio has significantly dropped from 4844 in 2017 to 3706 in 2018.
Note: in the e-news-version of this story, a typo in this article was produced throughout. The abortion rate declined by 25%, not 36%. Consider that our goal for next year! - BV.
If you have not heard, Ohio’s abortion statistics report was issued today. Each fall, Ohio’s Department of Health issues abortion statistics for the year prior. The statistics look at various demographic information like where the abortion was performed and where the mother who had the abortion resides. It tracks the method of abortion – both distinguishing between surgical and non surgical abortions but also breaking down types of procedures within the larger subset. It also looks at things like the mother’s race and ethnicity, the number of reported prior abortions or live births, her education, her age, and her marital status. You can review a copy of the 2018 Ohio Abortion Statistics online here (warning – it is a larger pdf file).
Earlier this month, the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute released a report detailing a national decline in the number of abortions over the past seven years. The abortion advocacy research organization argues that the proliferation of pro-life laws does not explain the reduction in total abortions but also indicates that some of the decrease is due to abortion restrictions passed by various states.
In context, the report issued by Ohio today shows that the local abortion rate has fallen by nearly 25% and that abortions in Ohio have hit another all-time low. In all, the number of abortions statewide decreased from 20,893 abortions in 2017 to 20,425 in 2018.
Statewide, the reduction in abortion is largely among women aged 19 or younger. The majority of women having abortions continue to be unmarried, with 79% reporting that they are single, divorced, separated, or widowed. Approximately 10% did not disclose their marital status and about 10% reported being married. Among the women who reported their race, about 48% were white, about 44% were African American, about 6% were Hispanic, and about 4% were Asian/Pacific Islander. Another 4% reported multiple ethnicity.
The Ohio abortion statistics report tracks abortion by two metrics. One is by the county in which the abortion was performed and the other is by where the mother reports that she resides.
Regionally, the number of abortions performed via non-surgical methods was 51%, a dramatic increase from 2017 (33.7%) and 2015 (5.3%). Of women who live in Franklin County who had abortions, about 34% identified as being white/Caucasian and about 47% identified as black/African American. This was a slight change from 2017 (36% and 45%, respectively). The report does not provide race and ethnicity information for every county.
There are a few notable things about the 2018 abortions locally to consider. At the beginning of 2018, Franklin County had two abortion clinics operating. Both performed both surgical and medical/chemical abortions. The clinics were Founders (1243 E Broad Street) and Planned Parenthood (3255 E Main). In June, we learned that Founders had closed its doors, likely due to a dispute between the physicians that owned the clinic and the management that operated it. For several months in 2018, Franklin County only had one operating abortion clinic. In the summer, the management team (formerly of Founder’s) opened a new abortion clinic on the north side of Columbus. The clinic did not obtain a license to perform surgical abortions, meaning that it offered chemical abortions only. This raised the number of clinics open back to two, with one offering surgical and chemical and one offering chemical only. In mid-autumn, Founder’s resumed operations, but subsequently their founding physician lost his license to practice medicine and the clinic relinquished its surgical license. It remains open, offering chemical abortions only, raising the total number of abortion clinics today to three. While most counties in central Ohio saw a drop in abortions, the temporary reduction in clinics and their subsequently sending patients to partner clinics in Montgomery and Lucas Counties for surgical abortions may account for a significant portion of the decline, and undoubtedly accounts for the steep increase in the use of medical abortions. It is worth noting that in 2018, two abortions were performed locally using methotrexate, something that was not previously done here (and is not frequently used throughout the state).
Several years ago, GCRTL started reporting on the abortion rate locally. Last year, we averaged about 13 babies lost to abortion each day. Locally, we now see just a little over 10 babies on average each day. Statewide, we have been steady at 57 babies each day for approximately three years. That figure has dropped to about 56.
While looking at the data provides an interesting snapshot into what is occurring in our neighborhood, it is only useful to the extent that we have adequate resources to go into the community with programs like sidewalk ministry, education, and referrals. It is not too late for us to reduce the number of abortions in 2019, but we need your help. To join our prayer program, visit www.gcrtl.org/pray, or sign up today to join our 40 Days for Life vigil (www.gcrtl.org/40-days-for-life). We also need to raise another $30,000 through the end of the year. If you can donate to make that happen, you can be taken to our secure giving partner to donate here. If you would like to bring one of our educational programs to your church, school, or group, you can also email us, here.
A Patient is a Person... No Matter How SMall
A record-breaking crowd joined Greater Columbus Right to Life for its annual banquet on Monday, June 10th, at the Villa Milano with special guest, Dr. William Lile, The Pro-Life Doc. Pictures from the event are available here.
Dr. William Lile is a pro-life OB/GYN who is licensed to practice in Florida and in Alabama. In 1999 he took over a practice that was also the largest provider of abortion services in Pensacola. All abortion services and abortion referrals were stopped on the first day. The abortionist retired and left the country. The abortion equipment is now used to demonstrate the brutality of abortions performed in all 3 trimesters. Today, there is no one offering abortions in the Florida panhandle and Dr. Lile uses his experience and information about modern obstetrics to demonstrate the life and personhood of the unborn. For Dr. Lile, all unborn children are treated as patients, no matter how small.
Dr. Lile is also one of more than 700 physicians across the country who is providing the Abortion Pill Reversal procedure, and he serves on the medical advisory board for Heartbeat International and the Abortion Pill Reversal Network, which to date has seen more than 750 successful reversal of the abortion pill in the United States. Dr. Lile explained to the crowd, “Opiate addiction is a major problem in the United States. The medical community understands that if someone misuses an opiate and experiences an overdose, we can administer a medicine like Narcan to reverse many of those overdoses and save the patient’s life. Abortion pill reversal is no different – if a woman takes the first dose of the abortion pill regimen and realizes she has made a mistake, we can often administer a drug commonly used in obstetric care to reverse the abortion and save the unborn patient’s life.” Dr. Lile shared that his practice in Florida just provided its sixth successful abortion pill reversal of 2019.
The procedure works because the abortion pill is a combination of two medicines. The first blocks a pregnant woman’s body from producing progesterone, which causes the death of her unborn child. A second medicine often used causes her body to expel the then-deceased child. The mechanism of the Abortion Pill Reversal (APR) is that it provides additional progesterone to a woman, counteracting the progesterone-blocking mechanism. It can be taken up to 72 hours after administering the abortion pill, but is most successful when taken in the first 24 hours. Progesterone is commonly used in obstetrical care to support healthy pregnancies, especially in women at risk of miscarriage.
In recent years, the percentage of local women choosing non-surgical methods of abortion has skyrocketed from about 3 percent to more than 30% locally, and GCRTL has seen first-hand women who walked out of the abortion clinic, experienced immediate regret, and wanted to reverse the process. Several years ago, a group of Seminarians were praying outside of Founder’s, and they witnessed a woman who came out and attempted to induce vomiting, crying out ‘what did I just do? What did I just do?’ We were just starting to hear about the APR process then, but our team was not yet familiar with it. Since then, we have been very invested in making sure that women, our volunteers, and the greater community know about Abortion Pill Reversal.
Legislation pending in the Ohio General Assembly would require that Ohio’s abortion informed consent law be updated to include information about the availability of abortion pill reversal. Not surprisingly, the effort has been decried by abortion advocates and the media, calling it “junk science” or an unnecessary effort to increase abortion stigma.
It seems surprising that advocates for so-called ‘choice’ would oppose expanding the options for a woman who changed her mind about her abortion. They are asserting, basically, that a woman does not have the right to information that, if she chooses, would allow her to withdraw consent from an abortion procedure. The more than 750 babies who have been born following APR are the best witnesses to the efficacy of the process. Dr. Lile added, “we are currently seeing success rates in the hundreds, and soon the thousands and the tens of thousands, and as more and more women are electing to have a chemical (non-surgical) abortion, it is vital that we continue this work from both the perspective of saving lives and also confirming the science involved.”
Greater Columbus Right to Life provides abortion pill reversal information and referrals to the national APR hotline, which is based here in Columbus out of the offices of Heartbeat International, to each client that their team of volunteers interacts with. In the last year, the group has provided information to more than 1000 women at the clinic as part of their ministry work. Proceeds from the evening’s fundraiser will support their programs such as sidewalk ministry, education – including an upcoming APR informational series, and other projects – such as the advanced medical directives project.
If you were not able to attend the fundraiser but would like to make a donation to support their work, you can visit www.gcrtl.org/gift.
To learn more about Abortion Pill Reversal, visit: www.abortionpillreversal.com.
Abortion Quotas at Planned Parenthood - they are a real thing
Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio's East Surgical Center: quotas, no matter what...
You won’t find many people who are truly gung-ho about abortion. Even the most ardent pro-choice voters simply want women to be able to make the decision, but they don’t often cheer when a baby is killed. You would be hard-pressed to find someone who wants to increase the number of aborted children.
Unless, of course, you’re talking about Planned Parenthood. The chilling fact is we have evidence of something alarming happening even within our own community: Planned Parenthood's East Surgical Center has abortion quotas.
We have proof — provided by none other than Planned Parenthood itself.
That’s right. Abortion for Planned Parenthood is not a last resort. This is about killing as many unborn children as possible to make more money; it’s a budget balanced in blood money. An ultrasound alone costs $200 at Planned Parenthood, and abortion costs range between $540 - $1,100, depending on a woman’s stage of pregnancy. We aren't making this up; you can check out their website here, or catch the screen shot here.
We recently learned of a job posting for a Planned Parenthood clinic manager at the east surgical facility in Columbus, Ohio. The responsibilities listed include “accepting individual and joint responsibility for, and lead the surgery center’s efforts to achieve annual surgical visit goals.” Click this link for the job description, or check out a screenshot here and here.
Abortion is the only procedure offered at this Planned Parenthood. In fact, there has long been a sign on the door reminding patients (or customers) that they do not offer any family planning services at the location. The phrase “annual surgical visit goals” is code for annual abortion goals. Planned Parenthood needs women to have abortions to keep the lights on and to continue profiting off from killing unborn children.
Sue Thayer, a former employee of Planned Parenthood explains, “As a Planned Parenthood Center Manager for nearly 18 years, I know that abortion services are their biggest moneymaker and top priority. Each center was given a monthly goal. Failure to meet abortion quotas necessitated a corrective action plan, a reprimand or worse. Reaching the abortion goal was often rewarded with extra PTO, lunch with the CEO or even a pizza party. I'm sad to say it, but free pizza was a huge motivator for staff to sell abortions. Purchasing a few pizzas was a small price to pay in return for a packed schedule on abortion day.”
Of course, Planned Parenthood denies having abortion quotas. See what they have to say on the matter by clicking here. After that, see how Snopes covered the topic by clicking here.
We know Planned Parenthood has been caught in a bevy of falsehoods before. A simple Google search will make that plain. Is this just the location in Columbus? Nope. It’s a widespread issue. Check out this article here from The Washington Times.
How they can possible refute this when it’s literally listed in their own job description?
Remember, this is all about the money. The more babies are killed, the more dollars they earn.
Life Site News recently crunched the numbers and found that over half of Planned Parenthood’s non-government income comes from abortions (52%). Although Planned Parenthood claims that abortion comprises on 3.4% of its services, they upped their abortion quotas by nearly 4% over the past three years. In total, Planned Parenthood’s abortion revenue accounts for about 11%, which is about $200 million.
Let’s face it. Planned Parenthood needs abortion quotas to keep the lights on.
Note: Unlike Planned Parenthood, Greater Columbus Right to Life does not receive any taxpayer dollars; we rely entirely on the generosity of our donors to keep the lights on. If you would like to support the work to expose and end abortion in central Ohio, you can make a donation here. If you are not able to make a donation at this time, please consider offering a prayer for our work or joining us as a volunteer. If you are visiting from outside the central Ohio area, consider volunteering with your local organization.
The Right to Know and the Right to Life
This week we were at a press conference announcing that Representative Niraj Antani (R-Miamisburg) and Senator Peggy Lehner (R–Dayton) will introduce legislation in the Ohio House and Senate to amend Ohio’s informed consent law to require that women seeking abortion counseling get information about the Abortion Pill Reversal (APR) protocol.
Doctors have successfully reversed chemical abortions by administering doses of the hormone progesterone, which is necessary for maintain a healthy pregnancy. In the process of a chemical abortion, a woman initially takes a mifepristone pill, which blocks progesterone and causes the unborn child to be disconnected from the uterine lining. Several days later, she takes a second drug (misoprostol) to remove the contents of her uterus. The APR protocol consists of providing a woman who has taken the first dose of the abortion pill with supplemental progesterone within 72 hours (but preferably within 24 hours). By taking progesterone over a number of weeks to overcome the deficiency caused by mifepristone, is possible that the woman can save her baby. Over 750 babies have been born following the reversal protocol, which is similar in nature to a medical protocol that is frequently used to help women who are at high risk of miscarriage due to progesterone insufficiency. The protocol was recently described in a BBC article about reducing miscarriage.
“It is perfectly reasonable to require that the informed consent process include this indispensable piece of information that this procedure can be stopped once it has started,” Sen. Peggy Lehner said, during a pro-life press conference at the Statehouse on May 14, 2019.
Surprisingly, organizations that claim to a woman’s “right to choose” vehemently oppose the legislation and have embarked on an extensive campaign to dispute the science of the bill, a drumbeat which has been picked up by Ohio’s media.
Much of their argument stems from a lack of medical trials on the process. However, they fail to recognize that a medical trial pertaining to abortion is unethical, as it inevitably results in killing the life of an unborn child. In medical trials, there is always a control group, which either receives a placebo or experimental drug. In testing the effects of progesterone on a woman who has taken mifepristone, it would be necessary to induce an abortion, either by giving the patients in the control group a placebo or by later performing an abortion, if the abortion pill reversal procedure is successful. However, the purpose of medicine is to promote maternal and fetal health, not death.
GCRTL’s executive director commented, “With more than one-third of local abortions being performed via the abortion pill, it is important that the community be aware that reversal is possible. A woman who changes her mind after she starts the abortion process has the right to withdraw her consent from inducing the death of her child, and if abortion advocates were truly in the business of supporting women’s choices they would be the first to recommend this process, even if it only provided a fraction of a percent of success.” Initial studies suggest the APR protocol has a 68-74% success rate.
One of the national leaders of the Abortion Pill Reversal process will be in Columbus on Monday, June 10th for the Greater Columbus Right to Life’s banquet. There is no cost to attend, although advance registration is required. There will be an opportunity to make a donation to support the work of GCRTL following the program.
If you or someone you know may benefit from the abortion pill reversal procedure, you can call their help hotline (877) 558-0333 or visit https://www.abortionpillreversal.com/.