Skip to comments.35 years pass, but not debate (clergy bless new Planned Parenthood clinic ) Rabbi blows Shofar
Posted on 01/24/2008 8:01:43 AM PST by NYer
SCHENECTADY -- To commemorate Tuesday's 35th anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling that affirmed a woman's right to an abortion, clergy blessed this city's new Planned Parenthood clinic in a ceremony dubbed "On Sacred Ground."
"Today is more than about the building and about bricks and mortar," Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Linda Scharf said. "It's a blessing to demonstrate the support of the clergy."
Since Jan. 22, 1973, when the high court handed down the landmark Roe vs. Wade decision, two sides of the issue have squared off. Opponents have campaigned to overturn unrestricted abortion laws, while proponents have stood firm for the right to choose.
Tuesday was no different.
Capital Region activists joined voices with their counterparts nationwide to mark the day. In Washington, as every year on the anniversary, the March for Life was held.
In Schenectady, the blessing occurred at the newly constructed 18,000-square-foot building at 1040 State St. that opened in September to replace a facility on Union Street.
"Clergy have long supported Planned Parenthood's mission and believe women are moral decision-makers, and they trust their right to make a personal decision based on their moral beliefs and whether ... we concur ... we still need to respect that decision," Scharf said.
"The clergy were instrumental in getting abortion services legalized in the United States and right here in Schenectady," she added. "I know a member of the clergy who was part of an underground who directed young women to safe abortions before Roe v. Wade."
Kathleen Gallagher of the New York State Catholic Conference called the blessing hypocritical.
"My gut reaction is that it's two-faced," Gallagher said. "For many years abortion proponents have been saying this is not a religious issue, you should keep religion out of this, and now all of a sudden they turn around and decide to bless an abortion clinic to gain respect for a procedure everybody knows is not worthy of respect."
The group also criticized Gov. Eliot Spitzer, noting that although abortions fell nationally to 1.2 million in 2005, the lowest level since 1976, Spitzer has proposed what Gallagher termed radical legislation in New York.
The governor "has acted aggressively to make abortion even more available and common than it already is, while stomping on the rights of religious providers like Catholic hospitals," Gallagher said. "His euphemistically titled 'Reproductive Health and Privacy Protection Act' would raise abortion to the level of a fundamental right, like the freedom of speech, and would therefore prohibit virtually any restrictions at all."
She warned such a bill would "ensure the easy availability of late-term abortions of fully formed infants, even if there was no threat to a woman's physical health."
In a joint statement, Spitzer, Lt. Gov. David Paterson and first lady Silda Wall Spitzer reaffirmed their "commitment that, despite attacks that seek to infringe upon the protections embodied in Roe v. Wade, women in New York will continue to have the right to make their own reproductive health decisions."
Scharf noted New York was ahead of the curve on abortion. Three years before Roe vs. Wade, under Republican Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller, the state Legislature legalized abortion. The year was 1970, and the action brought women from throughout the country to the state.
Despite the national trend of declining abortions, they increased in four local counties from 2005 to 2006 while statewide they dropped, according to the Health Department.
At Planned Parenthood Mohawk Hudson, an affiliate of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the Rev. Larry Phillips of Schenectady's Emmanuel-Friedens Church declared the ground "sacred and holy ... where women's voices and stories are welcomed, valued and affirmed; sacred ground where women are treated with dignity, supported in their role as moral decision-makers ... sacred ground where the violent voices of hatred and oppression are quelled."
The minister has been affiliated with Planned Parenthood going back more than 30 years, Scharf said. About three dozen people gathered at the facility, known as the Evelyn & David Sencer Center, to offer prayers during the half-hour ceremony.
The Rev. Abby Norton-Levering led the group in prayers for the center's doctors and staff. "We pray that you will make this a place of safety and give a sense of sanctuary," she said.
Rabbi Matt Cutler of Temple Gates of Heaven blew the shofar as "a renewal of commitment to keep reproductive rights in the hands of women."
The Rev. Bill Levering, senior pastor of First Reformed Church of Schenectady, said the right to privacy is endowed by God.
"There are some decisions that are left to the individual. Even God respects the right of privacy. We make women into children when we say they cannot control their own bodies," Levering said.
Phillips led everyone outside where they laid their hands on the brick and limestone as the minister declared, "This is sacred ground."
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Who were they, the priests of Moloch?
Never thought I would ever want to see a clergyman get the snot beat out of them by their parishioners, but I might make an exception here.
. . . to Moloch.
Those are not real Jews by the way...They are Reform, which are like Lutheran ELCA, Presbyterian USA, United Methodist etc...
Minister In Name Only.
No, Mr. Phillips, it's unholy ground where the innocent are slaughtered, and where women are subjected (sometimes willingly) to the ultimate indignity.
Woe to those who call evil good
and good evil,
who put darkness for light
and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
and sweet for bitter!
THE LORD had something to say about sacrificing children to "molech". He still doesn't approve ...
First Deformed Church, perhaps ...
Was this abortuary by any chance built in a grove on a high place? Do they have a sacrificial altar?
These so called clergy are reading from different holy texts than any of the religious leaders who study & obey the teachings of the Old and/or New Testaments!
May God have mercy on their flocks, they are leading them into the gates of hell.
The world truly is upside down when this happens.
She prayed that with a straight face?
May God have mercy on us all.
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