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A few days ago I did something I’d never done before: I joined a group of people praying outside a Planned Parenthood clinic in Washington, D.C.
In fact, it was the be-all and end-all of abortion clinics, replacing various smaller Planned Parenthood facilities that had come and gone during my years living in Washington: a “swanky” (the word comes from a fawning Washington Post write-up) twenty-million-dollar, 27,000-square-foot concrete fortress that opened in September 2016 as part of an effort to gentrify a rundown semi-industrial, semi-sad brownstone corner of northeast D.C. The clinic replaced a defunct auto-parts warehouse. According to press accounts, the vast spaces inside the facility, which also serves as the local Planned Parenthood headquarters, are adorned with chic Midcentury Modern Revival furniture and tiny cactus plants whose thorns are supposed to serve as defensive weapons should abortion protesters attempt to scale the walls or break the thick, high windows tinted like limousine glass so no one can see inside. Planned Parenthood is nothing if not security-conscious.
Prayer - Group - Catholic - Parish - Clinic
I’d volunteered to join a prayer group at a Catholic parish not far from the clinic. The pastor had enlisted us to be “witnesses” outside the clinic on Saturday mornings once a month. Since I’m not very good at praying (my mind wanders) but I like to cook, I’d decided instead to help make lunch for the praying crowd—drop off homemade desserts, actually. But this past Saturday, after I’d delivered some strudels to the parish hall, my curiosity got the better of me. Soon enough I was standing in a raw and cloudy February chill on a muddy strip of grass flanking the sidewalk in front of the Planned Parenthood behemoth. There were about ten other “witnesses.” One of the women carried a handmade sign on a pole: “I Regret My Abortion.” Leading us...
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