Pro-lifers: Abortion facility has cement shoes
The weeds tell the story.
When Planned Parenthood ceremoniously broke ground in May 2013 on its planned, multimillion-dollar abortion clinic on South Claiborne Avenue with a chilling, gold-shovel ceremony inside First Unitarian Universalist Church, Rabbi Edward Cohn, among several faith leaders, famously remarked, “This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!”
The regional Planned Parenthood facility seemed well on its way to completion.
But several speakers told those at the Proudly Pro-Life awards banquet on Jan. 8 that in the last six months, no construction has been done at the site in the 4600 block of South Claiborne. Weeds have grown through the wood forms that are expected to accept the building’s walls.
The problem? Planned Parenthood apparently is having trouble getting a concrete contractor needed to build the facility.
Sharon Rodi, a pro-life attorney who serves on the board of New Orleans Right to Life, praised Archbishop Gregory Aymond for his clear public stance in 2013 that any individual or business helping Planned Parenthood build the abortion clinic would be morally cooperating with evil. And, the archbishop wrote in his public letter, the archdiocese would not do future business with any entity that participated in the project.
“As a result of the archbishop’s much-publicized stand against Planned Parenthood, many contractors, both small and large businesses, have refused to participate in the erection of a Planned Parenthood building,” Rodi said before presenting Archbishop Aymond with the “Proudly Pro-Life” award at Chateau Golf and Country Club in Kenner. “Word spread like wildfire. People who previously had no idea that Planned Parenthood’s primary business was abortion became warriors against Planned Parenthood doing the business of abortion in our city.”
“Only the basic foundation of the building has been laid,” Rodi added. “It is our understanding that the next step – pouring concrete – hasn’t been done because no concrete company in the area will do the work. The million-dollar parcel of land at 4636 South Claiborne Avenue will stand vacant and overrun with weeds and rotted wood forms. We can see what the power of prayer and outstanding leadership can accomplish.”
Striking out on cement
Benjamin Clapper, director of the Louisiana Right to Life Federation, said construction rules in Orleans Parish require concrete for major projects to be mixed within a 60-mile radius, but thus far, no local contractors have stepped up.
“It’s been six months, and that’s a lot of time and money being wasted and spent by Planned Parenthood that they’re not using right now,” Clapper said. “They need concrete. They can do either one of two things. They get a concrete contractor within the city limits to do the work or have a company come from out of state and set up a batch. That would mean they’ve got to bring their own equipment, which is much more expensive. It would cost two, three or four times more than normal for a company to come from out of the area and batch concrete.”
In receiving the pro-life recognition, Archbishop Aymond said his public stance was simply a matter of fulfilling his ministerial role as a faith leader who cares for the dignity of human life.
Human life is sacred
“God has created us in his own image and likeness, he has breathed his own life into us, even before we were born,” the archbishop said. “We are human. We are sacred. We must, at all costs, be able to say boldly that we believe in the dignity of human life.”
The archbishop said when people characterize his stance as “bold and courageous,” he simply believed “I was doing what I was supposed to do as a man of faith and as one who takes very seriously the prophetic role in our society and in our church.”
Archbishop Aymond said he is praying for a “miracle” that somehow the facility is not built.
“Even if it is, we have made a significant impact on our society,” Archbishop Aymond said. “I can’t tell you the number of people who came up to me and expressed great surprise that by participating in the building of something that will do evil, they would themselves be participating in evil.
“Some people said, ‘It’s just a job. I have to do this. I’m lending a hand.’ Well, by lending a hand to do something that will ultimately do something that is not of God – that will destroy life – you will be participating in what takes place afterwards.”
Infusion of pro-life youth
The archbishop said he was thrilled that hundreds of students from the Archdiocese of New Orleans would be traveling with him to Washington, D.C., for the annual March for Life Jan. 22.
That says a lot about our young people,” he said. “Pro-choice organizations are complaining about the young people because they say ‘they don’t get it, they don’t understand what we’re about.’ Thank God our young people don’t understand what this is all about.”
On another front, the archbishop said the archdiocesan Cemeteries Office is reaching out to area hospitals to see if it might offer to provide burials for unborn babies who are miscarried under 20 weeks of gestation.
Clapper also said Louisiana Right to Life has added a staff member, Kathy Allen, Ph.D., to direct a new project called Black Advocates for Life.
“She sees the devastation in the African-American community in our state and across the nation about what abortion does to the black community,” Clapper said. “In Louisiana alone, 1 in 5 black babies is killed through abortion. Sixty percent of abortions in the state of Louisiana are in the black community. It’s a serious problem.”
Allen will begin her outreach efforts by speaking to pastors of African-American churches to “shine a light” on the statistics and the impact of abortion in the black community.