We just ended the Fall 40 Days for Life at Founders. Thank you to everyone who joined us! We know of at least five women who turned away from their abortion through 40 Days witness! If you missed out - it is not to late to join us. Send us an email with your availability, and we will connect you to a prayer captain for that day!
That said, something is afoot at Founders. In the past, we've documented the atrocious conditions of the clinic - from dirty equipment to lawsuits and even hiring a known sex offender who is now serving time in federal prison for child pornography. Recently, we even uncovered that the company running the clinic was sued by the city of Columbus for owing back taxes on more than $1.2 million in income.
More recently, an employee of the clinic noted starting a business to raise money (by selling tee shirts and soliciting donations) to "troll legislators" for passing prolife laws (note: foul language) and posted about her successful endeavor. A few things are apparent - first, this billboard isn't actually that close to the Statehouse, and while it is true that those legislators driving into Columbus from the north may see the billboard once or twice (the billboard is only up for a week), the reality is that these are nothing more than advertisements for abortion services.
Many businesses advertise, for sure. Perhaps it is a bit unusual for a Clear Channel account manager to be such an avid advocate for Founder's abortion clinic that she or he would make a donation to a fund that advertises the business, but certainly well within that person's rights. Perhaps we will reconsider doing some billboard advertising if we can find an equally pro-life account manager!
The billboard images themselves are clearly not advocating for abortion as a public good, promoting pro-abortion policy, or in any way "trolling legislators", but advertising the business. The six ads can be seen on this screen shot of the blog posted above, which has an oddly triumphant tone. What business brags that it raised enough money selling tee shirts and soliciting donations to purchase a week's worth of electronic billboards? Perhaps a business that can't pay its taxes, was recently sued for medical malpractice, and has been closed for business twice in the last week on days it is usually open is simply trying to scrounge up some new patients?
Don't get us wrong, we don't know what is happening. Closing down the office on one Saturday is not big news - that already happens once or twice a year. Closing it the following Tuesday isn't necessarily big news, either. Perhaps the doctors or staff were sick. Perhaps they had an employee day out of the office. Perhaps there was a maintenance issue. Perhaps it is because the late fall tends to have fewer abortions than the late summer and early winter. Or, perhaps the rumor we've heard of a few employees finding better paying and less gruesome jobs is true and there is a staffing problem. Perhaps our campaign of peaceful prayerful witness is showing women that they have better options than abortion. Perhaps the Center for Medical Progress videos making many people rethink abortion. Perhaps they are restructuring their days for any of a dozen reasons that we cannot think of that have no real impact at all.
On the other hand, maybe this is the beginning of the end for Founder's abortion clinic. Folks who have been around a bit longer will remember Capital Care Network's protest that they were going strong and wouldn't be closing - only to close a bit later. But it seems to me that a business which has to resort to several months of crowdfunding and tee shirt sales in order to drum up a few hundred dollars in advertising dollars is not exactly flourishing, and things seem oddly reminiscent of the problems that plagued the clinics before the "merger" in 2012. That closure decreased the number of clinics in Columbus from four to three, and the announcement last fall that Complete Healthcare for Women was halting abortions lowered the number of local clinics to two.
We aren't ready to do a victory lap quite yet. We are very grateful for any day that babies and their mothers are a bit safer in Columbus. But cold weather is approaching, and it gets a little harder for people to sacrifice part of their week to join us in prayer. Some days, it certainly is a sacrifice. It is a sacrifice that is bearing fruit, however. Consider joining us in prayerful, peaceful presence and perhaps you will help us to see the day that there is one fewer abortion clinic in Columbus a bit sooner.