Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Clergy group blesses Cleveland abortion clinic

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- An interfaith group of clergy assembled Thursday to bless an East Side abortion clinic and its staff and patients, in what was believed to be the first service of its kind in Ohio.

The 15 ministers and rabbis ended the half-hour service by linking hands in front of the Preterm clinic on Shaker Boulevard and singing the spiritual "Amen" with about 30 clinic staffers and past patients.

"Bless this building," the Very Rev. Tracey Lind, Dean of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, said in a litany of supplications. "May its walls stand strong against the onslaught of shame thrown at it. May it be a beacon of hope for those who need its services."

The Rev. Laura Young, a United Methodist minister, organized the gathering as executive director of the Ohio Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.

"We're doing this because too many religious people are hurling shame and hate at women seeking abortion, when we should be offering compassion, care and spiritual healing," she said.

The Rev. Harry Knox, president of the national Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, said the service was spurred by "renewed attacks on reproductive health rights" and the anti-abortion activities of "far too many religious people.

"Instead of recognizing and sharing the unending love of God, they show up right here, on this street, to hurl shame and hate at women," he said. "We gather here today to say no to this shame.

"As people of faith, we know that God's love is constant when a woman is deciding to have an abortion. God's love is with her the entire time."

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