Pro-life supporters celebrate clinic closing
Former Planned Parenthood director speaks at ‘Breakthrough’
Published: Sunday, September 8, 2013
Updated: Sunday, September 8, 2013 23:09
Now a vacant building, the former Planned Parenthood clinic in Bryan, was a stark contrast to the commemoration and applause from people directly across the street on Saturday.
From 10 a.m. to noon, 40 Days For Life, a nationwide pro-life campaign effort, hosted ‘Breakthrough,’ to celebrate, as what Jason Bienski, the mayor of Bryan said in a welcome speech, “the most historic abortion center closing since Roe v. Wade.”
Held under an outdoor tent, the event included speakers and attracted hundreds of people. In attendance were volunteers, local residents, and students from Texas A&M.
A speaker at the event was Abby Johnson, the former director of Bryan’s Planned Parenthood clinic, who left her position in October 2009 to become an advocate for the pro-life movement.
Johnson attributed the closing of the Bryan clinic to combined efforts from the Texas Legislature, volunteers and to the local pregnancy centers.
“My hope is that the community will take this to other places and help replicate these results,” Johnson said.
Rachel Hillebrand, junior political science major and member of Pro-Life Aggies, said she was glad the clinic was shut down and that the clinics closing was an answer to many prayers.
“This is a testament to what a strong community that Bryan and College Station have,” Hillebrand said.
The former Brazos Valley Planned Parenthood was the site of the first 40 Days for Life Campaign in 2004. The clinic was also located next to The Coalition for Life, another grassroots pro-life organization.
Heather Adams, senior international studies major, said though she never participated in the campaign, she had driven past the street before and seen people in prayer outside of the clinic.
“I just felt a tugging at my heart to come here,” Adams said. “I just wanted to see the influence of prayer and all the work that had been done”
Hillebrand said 40 Days for Life consists of daily, 24-hour rotations where volunteers gather in front of clinics for “quiet prayer” and vigil, rather than protests.
“It’s about love for these children, for these mothers, and for these workers,” Adams said. “It wasn’t about holding up signs and picketing. I think that is definitely a stereotype.”
Students’ incentives to attend ‘Breakthrough’ were also prompted by personal experience. Hillebrand said the birth of her nephew contributed to her presence on Saturday.
“My brother had his first kid when he was seventeen,” Hillebrand said. “Abortion was never an option and I really admired that.”
Another student, Theresa MacGregor, senior biomedical sciences major and a member of Pro-Life Aggies, said being pro-life would be a function of her future career.
“Part of being a doctor will be protecting life since that’s what we’re supposed to do,” MacGregor said. “That was a no brainer for me.”
In addition to listening to testimonials, onlookers memorialized the abortions performed at the clinic by placing flowers on the fence surrounding the building.
“This is something I really believe in,” said Catherine Hernandez, senior biology major and volunteer with 40 Days for Life. “I’ve actually known three people that have had abortions and that is why I’m holding three roses.”