A national group of pro-life leaders is planning a protest in Houston, Texas on Jan. 18, following Planned Parenthood's announcement that it plans to renovate a six story building into a late-term abortion facility.
The building, formerly belonging to a bank and shaped like a cash register, will be transformed into a 78,000 square foot clinic and is expected to be one of the largest in the nation. It will also include a surgical wing capable of providing late-term abortions.
Dr. Marcella Colbert, director of the Respect Life Office in the Archdiocese of Houston, spoke with CNA on Wednesday about the new facility. Although she is not directly involved with the upcoming protest, she has been involved with legislation concerning Planned Parenthood's presence in the area.
In Dr. Colbert's view, the new facility will ultimately prove to be counterproductive. “I think it allows the community to see the evil of abortion,” she told CNA on Wednesday. Since the large building is located near a major freeway and will be the sole location of abortions in the area, Colbert surmised that “people are going to look at it and say, 'my goodness, they're doing all those abortions there.'”
Colbert explained that one reason Planned Parenthood needs to set up the new facility is to consolidate its operations as it struggles with financial difficulties. Additionally, the center is being opened to allow late-term abortions to be performed in compliance with Texas state law, which requires abortions being performed at 16 weeks or later to take place at a properly licensed surgical center.
According to the Respect Life director, the move will also result in closer monitoring by the state of women who are damaged by abortions at the new clinic. “Once they have to obey the law in relation to all the medical and surgical outpatient facilities, they also have to obey the law in relation to reporting what happens at abortion facilities.”
Protest organizer Lou Engle, founder of pro-life group The Call to Conscience, has called the new clinic “an abortion super center” and has further argued that it is being strategically placed in an area of Houston which has predominately black and Hispanic neighborhoods. Engle also spoke of how he believes Planned Parenthood markets itself to minority women of low income.
“Planned Parenthood has always targeted minorities from the very beginning,” agreed Dr. Colbert, who told CNA that “there is nothing new about that - Planned Parenthood and all abortion clinics are always in the poorest part of town.” The new facility in Houston “is no change from what they've done in the past,” she added.
Lou Engle will be joined in the protest on Jan. 18 by Family Research Council president Tony Perkins; Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference; Richard Land, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission; Bishop Harry Jackson, senior pastor of Hope Christian Church; Star Parker, president of the Coalition for Urban Renewal and Education as well as Abby Johnson, the former Bryan,Texas Planned Parenthood Director.
Likening the protest to those of the Civil Rights Movement, Engle stated to CNSNews.com that “As Martin Luther King Jr. said, 'It is time to subpoena the conscience of America.'"