PROVIDENCE — “We care about you walking into those doors,” said Carol Owens, director of the Diocesan Office of Life and Family. Owens was joined by nearly 175 pro-life supporters and others on Saturday who gathered together to pray and peacefully protest outside of the Planned Parenthood clinic on Point Street as part of the National Day of Protest against abortion facilities across the country.
The program began as Bishop Thomas J. Tobin offered a blessing to all of those in attendance, sharing that their presence is always encouraging and affirming.
“Your good human efforts based on your conviction, your commitment, your love of people and love for life always has to be complemented by God’s grace,” the bishop said. “We pray for all those gathered here, that you give them wisdom to always know what is right, the courage always to do it. We pray for all of our unborn children and their mothers that they will have your grace and protection as well.”
Bishop Tobin prayed for those who give witness to the dignity of human life and also to those who do not share the same commitment to life, that they have a conversion of heart.
As pro-lifers held simultaneous peaceful protests at Planned Parenthood centers across the United States, the Diocese of Providence's Office of Life and Family and R.I. Right to Life welcomed anyone who could attend to join in actively contributing to this national effort.
Barth E. Bracy, executive director of Rhode Island Right to Life was inspired by the powerful pro-life messages and pleased by the large turnout, despite the rainy forecast and the protesters’ frustrations with Providence Police.
“We were disappointed that our sound system permit was not issued and that the police detail disrupted the speaking program and the unity of our rally by insisting that we vacate the large Point Street sidewalk,” Bracy explained. “We are presently coordinating with the Providence Police Department to ensure that future events will be handled more smoothly.”
Owens shared that these peaceful protests are necessary to raise the level of awareness of the people in Rhode Island to not only the act of abortion, but also to the selling of baby body parts.
Last year, the Center for Medical Progress released videos in which staff members went undercover as representatives of a fetal tissue procurement firm to meet with Planned Parenthood executives to discuss financial compensation for body parts obtained through surgical abortions.
“This is almost like watching a science fiction movie,” Owens said. “When you consider the money that is realized from abortion and from the selling of baby parts, you also must realize how much Planned Parenthood encourages abortion as they feed into the mind of a woman in a desperate situation. This is not “planned parenthood,” this is a lucrative business that thrives on the killing of innocent babies and selling their body parts to the highest bidder for a profit.”
Genevieve Kineke, author of “The Feminine Genius” column and a parishioner of Our Lady of Mercy in East Greenwich, addressed the crowd calling for an end to all government funding, and explaining that Planned Parenthood “deserves not one penny.”
“Nationwide a groundswell of support has linked people of all faiths and of no faith, all of who realize that a life is a life, is a life,” Kineke said. “Some call it sacred, some simply human, all call it a person worthy of respect, of dignity of value. Honest people of no faith, who with tremendous sincerity, sift through the scientific evidence which reveals without a doubt the humanity of the unborn child and legitimate needs of mothers in crisis refuse to financially support an entity that politicizes the evidence and ignores scientific facts. Even they insist that Planned Parenthood deserves not one penny.”
For Owens, many women have shared with her their heart-wrenching stories, reliving every moment of their experience.
“They tell me what led them to make the decision to end the life of their child and they tell me that they cannot forgive themselves,” she said. “They tell me about leaving feeling empty, feeling less than they were when they walked in, and feeling like they left something behind.”
“In this Year of Mercy, I would be remiss if I didn’t encourage you to continue this mission here,” Owens told those in attendance. “We all care, we have compassion for each and every woman who feels that she has nowhere to turn to, nowhere to go and no other choice. We are here because you do have a choice. We are here to save one baby at a time.”