From the Archdiocese of New Orleans comes one of the most effective anti-abortion protests to date.
On January 27, Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond of New Orleans published a letter in the Clarion-Herald, the Archdiocesan newspaper, which has been distributed in every Catholic church in the metropolitan area. In it, Archbishop Aymond announces that the Archdiocese of New Orleans will boycott any person or business who plays a role in helping to erect a new Planned Parenthood facility on Claiborne Avenue.
The planned $4.2 million, 7,000- to 8,000-square-foot facility would, according to Planned Parenthood, be the first in the state to offer abortion services. However, perhaps because of pro-life initiatives on the part of the Archdiocese of New Orleans and other groups, no construction has begun on the center.
Archbishop Aymond reminded his flock that
“Abortion is a grave evil…. The Archdiocese is obliged to remind every person and organization involved in the acquisition, preparation and construction of this or any abortion facility that they are cooperating with the evil that will take place there.”
Louisiana Right to Life has also been involved in preventing the planned clinic, which held its groundbreaking in May 2013, from ever being built. Through their NolaNeedsPeace.com campaign, LRTL has placed signs around the city which say
“More Planned Parenthood = More Abortions.”
And a health panel of the Louisiana State House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a measure calling for an investigation of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast to see whether it’s in compliance with all state and federal laws, after allegations that the organization has been using its Medicaid funds to refer patients for abortions in the state of Texas. Attorney Dorinda Bordlee, representing the Bioethics Defense Fund, told the court,
“There are legal issues concerning our current state law which says state contractors cannot recommend abortion or provide facilities for abortion. This resolution asks various state agencies to inquire whether that contract would be null because of their abortion providing activities.”
Ben Clapper, executive director of Louisiana Right to Life, said, “Every day there’s not abortions happening on Claiborne Avenue is a good day for the city of New Orleans.” Clapper believes that the protests have caused contractors to shy away from the project. His goal is to prevent Planned Parenthood from performing abortions on Claiborne Avenue.
Following is the letter from Archbishop Gregory Aymond in its entirety. You can find the original letter, including footnotes, on the Clarion-Herald’s website.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
In March 2013, the Roman Catholic Church of the Archdiocese of New Orleans participated in an awareness campaign regarding Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider. Planned Parenthood is set to construct a 7,000- to 8,000-square-foot facility at 4636 South Claiborne Avenue near Napoleon Avenue in New Orleans. Although Planned Parenthood does not currently perform abortions in Louisiana, they have publicly stated that they will be performing abortions at this new facility and that it will be the largest of its kind in Louisiana. They intend to open in 2014.
In 2011, Planned Parenthood performed over 330,000 abortions across the U.S., representing over 1/3 of our nation’s abortions every year. Moreover, for every 145 abortions that Planned Parenthood performs, they facilitate only one adoption referral. Nine out of 10 pregnant women who enter the doors of a Planned Parenthood facility have an abortion.
A new construction permit was given final approval by the City of New Orleans on December 5, 2013. Documentation filed with the City Department of Safety and Permits provides substantial detail as to the design of the facility. According to records filed by Planned Parenthood’s Electrical Engineering Consultant, there will be “patient recovery areas…” Abortion industry experts have advised that this indicates Planned Parenthood could perform upwards of thirty (30) abortions per day. This is a staggering increase in the number of abortions in light of the 3,496 abortions1 (see footnotes) performed in 2012 in Orleans and Jefferson parishes.
It has been the consistent teaching of the Catholic Church since the first century that abortion is a grave evil. The “Catechism of the Catholic Church” states in paragraph 2270 that:
“Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person – among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life. 72 (1703, 357)
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you. 73 Jer 1:5; cf. Job 10:8-12; Ps 22:10-11
My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately wrought in the depths of the earth.” 74 Ps 139:15
We cannot be silent in view of the grave injustice presented by the abortions that will be performed at the proposed Planned Parenthood facility. The archdiocese is obliged to remind every person and organization involved in the acquisition, preparation and construction of this or any abortion facility that they are cooperating with the
evil that will take place there. For this reason, the archdiocese, including its churches, schools, apartments for the elderly and nursing homes, will strive in its privately funded work not to enter into business relationships with any person or organization that participates in actions that are essential to making this abortion facility a reality.
This policy applies to all businesses, regardless of religious affiliation or non-affiliation. Our fidelity to Church teaching and our conscience necessitates this stance.
There is no justification, including economic hardship that will make a direct or indirect relationship with Planned Parenthood, or any abortion provider, acceptable. Additionally, affiliation or support of Planned Parenthood by Catholics is a matter of serious scandal.2
We will continue to pray for those that are blind to the destruction caused by abortion and invite those involved with Planned Parenthood to prayer and dialogue. There are many issues, from violence in the streets to poverty, which hurt this community. A regional abortion center will not solve our problems; it will only create more. This is not the future the New Orleans metropolitan area needs.
We hope that the community invested in the City of New Orleans and in her future will join us in standing for life, not more abortion.
All citizens of the New Orleans area must stand together for a peaceful community, not one with more abortion and more Planned Parenthood.
If you have questions, need resources or would like to participate further, please contact me or Peg Kenny, Respect Life Office at (504) 286-1119 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wishing You God’s Blessings, I am,
Sincerely in Christ,
Most Rev. Gregory M. Aymond
Archbishop of New Orleans