By Louantha Kerr
On a cool crisp morning this past Good Friday, less than a week after the close of the latest 40 Days for Life campaign in Virginia Beach, Virginia, about 85 pro-life prayer warriors gathered to pray in front of the local Planned Parenthood clinic on Newtown Road. In this era of abortion on demand, there is a growing Christian tradition to pray at abortion facilities on Good Friday.
Planned Parenthood supporters, some chanting, “Trust Women, Respect Choice!” joined us on the sidewalk. Dr. Robert Rashti, CEO of the local Planned Parenthood abortion clinic, stood with the other supporters of an apparent rally for choice. Most held signs stating, “I love Planned Parenthood.” A banner draped over the entrance to the facility read, “Planning for Parenthood is Sacred Work” Other Planned Parenthood employees also participated in the rally, handing out signs, organizing refreshments, etc., while clients entered for their scheduled abortion services.
Although the recitation of Christian prayer and frequent chants of “Trust Women, Respect Choice!” seemed competitive at times, a possible effort to have one message heard over the other, the time together was rather respectful and peaceful. Dr. Rashti’s presence on the sidewalk, as well as the Virginia Beach Police officer in the parking lot, may have contributed to the calm at the event. Newtown Road was full of vehicles most of the time, many motorists honking horns much as they did during 40 Days for Life.
Although there was not much interaction between the participants, one of our local clergy, seminarian Gino Rossi did spend some time speaking with Dr. Rashti near the conclusion of the prayer service. The pictures speak volumes about the issue at hand: one group seeking God’s forgiveness and mercy for the evil of abortion; the other seeking support of an organization and the continuation of the medical practice of abortion on demand that not only disrespects women but also eliminates any choice for the unborn child.
The irony of this day, Good Friday, April 22, 2011: It’s Earth Day, a day of celebration of the ecology of the world. Abortion is not only the greatest civil rights issue of our time. It is the leading ecological disaster for our planet. Without human ecology, nothing else will matter.