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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Some call it a woman’s health clinic. Others, a place where women’s ‘choices’ are respected. But for about 150 people who rallied this morning, a Washington, DC, Planned Parenthood represents ground zero of the pro-life movement. Here is a place where relationships are broken and hearts wounded. It is a place of injustice and violence. Here is a place where the lives of real babies are brutally and horrifically ended.
“Coming here helps us avoid making this simply a battle of ideas or an abstract issue,” Fr. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, said in an onsite interview with LifeSiteNews.
“It’s so important for pro-life people and for all our citizens to realize we’re talking about real babies being killed, real moms and dads in despair, and the procedure itself taking place in buildings like this. Being here focuses people on the very concrete aspect of the reality of abortion and of the debate,” he said.
Women continued to enter the abortion mill throughout the morning as the pro-lifers peacefully lined the sidewalk in front of the building. Pavone and other pro-life leaders lead the group in prayer, singing, and in inspirational speeches.
Young people chalked numerous pro-life messages along the sidewalk leading to the facility, all of them affirming the beauty and preciousness of life.
As the pro-life group pressed tighter towards the facility’s front gate, two escorts wearing bright orange shirts with the words “pro-choice” made sure that woman entering the clinic felt welcomed.
A few passersby were not pleased to see such a large group protesting abortion.
“Disgusting people,” one woman stated out loud. “Saving lives…really,” another sarcastically said as she walked through the row of pro-lifers who lined both sides of the sidewalk.
Fr. Pavone told the crowd through a megaphone that they are gathered to show respect for “all human life, every human person, not only [for] those who agree with us, but [for] those who disagree, not only [for] those who support us, but [for] those who oppose us, not only [for] those who work to save these lives, but even — in solidarity and prayer — for those who take these lives.”
“We are not here to hate or to oppress or to condemn anyone,” he said. The pro-life movement is not one which “points fingers of condemnation,” but one which “extends hands of mercy and of welcome, of strength and of hope” to lead people out of the despair that leads them to abortion and that follows abortion, he said.
Katerina Dranchak, 16, came with her church group from Beavercreek, Ohio to “support life.” She told LifeSiteNews that even though the weather was chilly and threatened snow, it was worthwhile bearing it to show people that every life matters. Katerina’s 14-year-old sister Valerie said she hopes lawmakers in Washington will get the message that “abortion is wrong.”
The House of Representatives will vote on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act on Thursday, the day of the march as well as the 42nd anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion across the country. President Obama indicated yesterday that he will veto any attempt to restrict abortion.
13-year-old Katie Zopff, also from Ohio, told LifeSiteNews that seeing women entering the clinic, possibly to have an abortion that morning, made her wonder if the women actually knew what they were about to do to themselves and to their babies.
Zopff said if there was one thing she would tell an abortion-bound woman, it would be this: “Even if you don’t think you can have the baby, it’s still a human being and it deserves to live. It has human dignity and it’s your responsibility to respect that.”