Planned Parenthood protest includes seminary contingent

by James A. Smith Sr. , posted Monday, August 24, 2015 (3 years ago)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP) -- Students, faculty and staff from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary bolstered 500 pro-life protesters at Louisville's Planned Parenthood office Aug. 22, part of a nationwide effort in 320 cities to bring public attention to the nation's leading abortion provider in the wake of undercover videos released since July by the Center for Medical Progress.

The videos, which have led to federal and state investigations of Planned Parenthood, show officials and others associated with the abortion giant casually discussing selling organs of aborted children and perhaps even babies born alive.

"Each community with a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic, satellite clinic or office needs to take action against the killing of babies and the trafficking of their aborted baby parts," organizer Dylan Harrington said in a news release announcing the protest at Planned Parenthood's office on Second Street in downtown Louisville, a location that does not perform abortions.

"We should not be opposed to protesting," Harrington, a graduate of the worldview certificate program of Southern Seminary's undergraduate arm, Boyce College, told the crowd, which he counted at 500, clogging sidewalks on both sides of the street.

Other participants in the two-hour peaceful protest included the Catholic Archdiocese of Louisville, Students for Life of the Appalachians, Silent No More Louisville, Sisters for Life, Right to Life of Owensboro, Pleasantville Community Church, Knights of Columbus and Speak for the Unborn led by Southern Seminary Ph.D. student Andrew King.

King characterized any defense of Planned Parenthood in the wake of the undercover videos as "truly chilling."

"Let's be clear: When we hear talk of tissue donation we must realize that before there is any tissue to donate, there is a life that must be taken."

King said he did not participate in the event from a political or ideological standpoint, even adding, "I do not stand here ultimately as member of a pro-life movement."

Rather, he said, "I stand here as a follower of Jesus Christ," emphasizing that God's grace is available to both those who are pro-choice and pro-life.

"We must stand not just against Planned Parenthood and organizations like it," King said. "Rather, we must stand against a culture of death armed with a Gospel that gives life."

Speak for the Unborn does sidewalk counseling each week in front of Louisville's sole abortion clinic -- EMW Women's Surgical Center -- seeking to persuade women to not abort their unborn children.

"I know you're closed today, but I know you've got people listening," Angela Minter of Sisters for Life said, facing the Planned Parenthood office. She then led the group chanting, "Defund Planned Parenthood," a common refrain during the protest.

The gathering was briefly disrupted by two pro-Planned Parenthood demonstrators who yelled repeatedly, "Pro-life, that's a lie; you don't care if women die!"

Following speeches by leaders of the participating organizations, the protesters marched around the block and concluded in a time of prayer.

Sean Perron, a master of divinity student who participated with his wife Jennifer, said after the protest, "I was able to talk with two young mothers from the neighboring community who had not heard that Planned Parenthood was selling baby parts. I am hopeful that the protest raised awareness about the deception of Planned Parenthood."

Timothy Keiser, a Ph.D. student, tweeted, "Hundreds singing, 'Jesus Loves the Little Children'" in front of Planned Parenthood "was one of the best moments" of the Louisville protest.

James A. Smith Sr. is executive editor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
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