About 150 people prayed and sang hymns in front of the
only Whatcom County health clinic that offers abortions on Sunday to protest
"Innocent blood is shed in this place," the Rev. Frank Pavone told the crowd
over a megaphone while standing in front of Mt. Baker Family Medicine - a
Planned Parenthood-run clinic on Ellis Street that was closed Sunday.
"In Hebrew, the language in which the psalms are written, the word for womb
is the same as the word for mercy," said Pavone, national director of the New
York-based Priests for Life. "The building we're standing in front of today
turns that place of mercy into a place of cruelty, of horror and of death."
Pavone came to Bellingham at the request of the Rev. Frank Schuster, chaplain
at Western Washington University's Shalom Center and a pastor at Sacred Heart
and Assumption Parishes.
"We're not going away until places like this, in fact every place like this,
is closed forever," Pavone said. He urged people to return often, when the
clinic is closed and when it is open.
Those lined up in front of the clinic included seniors, parents with children
and college students.
"Abortion should be stopped," said Dale Pollard, a Bellingham resident and a
pastor at Hillcrest Chapel. "It is the killing of children."
Pollard said he wanted to get the word out that Mount Baker Family Medicine
performs abortions. He came with his wife, Diane and daughter Amy, 8.
"We want young ladies to know that they have other choices," Diane Pollard
said. "We've adopted two children."
Casey Karbowski, a 19-year-old Western Washington University student, knelt
in prayer for much of the hour-long event.
"It's important to pray about these kinds of issues," he said. "I think
people on the pro-life and the pro-choice side in America can agree that we need
Gretchen Kruger said she did not oppose abortion until a couple of weeks ago,
when she learned more about the process.
"I think there's better options out there than killing an innocent baby,"
said Kruger, 19, of Bellingham.
Alan Mill came to the clinic with Kruger and helped her hold up a sign
promoting adoption, but held a differing view than most there.
"I personally am pro-choice," said Mill, 19, of Bellingham. "However, I think
there is something morally wrong with abortion."
Protest organizers handed out pre-printed signs saying: "Abortion kills
children," "Abortion hurts women" and "Jesus forgives and heals."
The biggest sign in the crowd, however, said: "Whatever you think about
abortion, other people have the right to get one."
"I feel like somebody needs to present the other viewpoint," said Jim
McLaughlin, the Bellingham resident who tried to keep the big sign upright in
Two more pro-choice counter-protesters stood across the street. The abortion
opponents drew honks of support, opposing comments and some rude remarks from