How pro-lifers kept Planned Parenthood from expanding in Knoxville

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TN pro-life groups have been working behind the scenes several weeks to keep Planned Parenthood from renting larger space to expand into a surgical abortion business in the Knoxville area. On August 8 KnoxvilleNews.com announced success...

... Planned Parenthood of Middle and East TN... announced Friday that because of a "mutual business decision" between the organization and property owner James Simpson, it would not relocate its West Knoxville clinic to a building of his being renovated on Homberg Drive.

The move had prompted the formation of the Bearden-based Pro-Life Coalition of East TN, which put up a Web site, staged a press conference earlier this week and plans a "celebratory" gathering today... in place of a scheduled rally against the move.

The coalition also organized a 3-week campaign of writing and calling the property owner, management company and contractors, urging them not to work with PP.

Coalition spokeswoman Lisa Morris believes those letters and calls stopped the move. But Jeff Teague, president and CEO of PP of Middle and East TN, said, "Let me assure you, that had nothing to do with it."...

Teague said the Knoxville clinic will continue to provide services - including birth control, counseling, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, education and RU486 - at 8078 Kingston Pike while the organization looks for another space.

The Coalition included the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform Southeast Region, the Diocese of Knoxville, TN Right to Life, and area churches area pregnancy care centers.

According to a press release CBR also:

... acted independently to make sure all parties clearly understood the consequences of the PP relocation: pro-lifers displaying abortion pictures on sidewalks, on the sides of trucks, and on airplane tow banners in the vicinity of PP and in front of the businesses who enable their killing programs. We call these signs "weapons of mass instruction." They are the same kinds of disturbing photos that have historically been used by social reformers to dramatize injustice and educate the public....

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Business people instinctively understand that abortion images are so powerful, they will persuade even our most vocal opponents to participate in our "boycott," because they will go shopping elsewhere in order to avoid our pictures.

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CBR Executive Director Gregg Cunningham commented that "For the past 35 years, pro-life activists have been considered toxic in almost every community. Even pro-life pastors view us with a certain amount of suspicion. We have tried in vain to make ourselves more palatable. It is time we started using our toxicity to our own advantage. We need to let them know that if they support abortion, they get us, and they don't want us."

I really love that last paragraph. Look, I realize certain pro-lifers can't get past the desire to be liked, or to serve more of a Samaritan or apologist role. For them there are many useful places to work, like pregnancy care centers and on the op ed pages.

But abortion is the most ravaging human atrocity in all of history. A critically important component of the pro-life movement is showing it. Activism needs to be respected and accepted. Regardless of Teague's dismissal - what else could he say? - I'm quite confident business concerns over abortion planes, truth trucks, and graphic signs on sidewalks in front of stores won the day here.

[Bottom photo attribution: Pro-Life Action League]


Comments:

I really love the signs that they used, "One dead One wounded".

I've never seen that sign before, and to me at least, it's more powerful than any I have seen in my life. How true and sad, but powerful and educational.

Posted by: Marie at August 17, 2009 11:59 AM


Abortion Ju-Jitsu.


Go Gregg!

We need more of this around the country.

Posted by: Chris Arsenault at August 17, 2009 12:10 PM


Wooo Hooo!! Excellent news to read today!

Posted by: carla Author Profile Page at August 17, 2009 12:37 PM


They dispense RU-486? Wow. Even when they can't do abortions, they do abortions. I'm glad PP manages to find a way to make up for any benevolent services they provide, no matter what. 9_9

Posted by: xalisae at August 17, 2009 1:04 PM


I am so proud. The Church stood up. Baptists and Catholics and the bishop who is now critically ill and the pastor of a large Baptist Church. This is what happens when the church stands up.

Posted by: Maria at August 17, 2009 1:06 PM


"I'm quite confident business concerns over abortion planes, truth trucks, and graphic signs on sidewalks in front of stores won the day here."
============================================

Yup...even though PP won't admit it.

Reminds me of the reaction of a certain grocery store manager near the Aurora PP when people started giving back their store card because they gave-in to PP's "pressure" to put a fence around their lot where pro-lifers gather.

Posted by: RSD at August 17, 2009 1:21 PM


Does any one know if the Hyde amendment forbids the federal funding of RU-486 as it does surgical abortion? I hope so...

Posted by: Janet at August 17, 2009 1:31 PM


RSD,
I couldn't stand having to drive past the Aurora Planned Parenthood abortuary every day on the way to the grocery store, to rent a movie, or whatever. How depressing.

Posted by: Janet at August 17, 2009 1:34 PM


I wish my own diocese would speak up in this way. I am so proud of those people in Tennessee. Way to go.

Posted by: Andy at August 17, 2009 1:46 PM


This makes me double happy. First of all, I was born in East Tennessee. Secondly, I'm a Baptist married to a Catholic, so I'm always pleased to see the two groups working together.

And I very much agree with the closing statements of Jill's post. There are times and places that are appropriate to be the caring servant, but there are also times and places when it's necessary to expose the ugly truth of abortion.

Posted by: Janette at August 17, 2009 3:35 PM


It's wonderful to see the combined efforts pay off - Congrats the Pro-Life Coalition of Eastern TN!

Pro-Lifers Unite!

Posted by: Chris Arsenault at August 17, 2009 3:56 PM


As a prolife activist in the Knoxville area, I am familiar with this story. The rapid response of the prolife community here to the news of PP's plans was inspiring and hopeful, and something to be proud of. Whether or not it was the deciding factor in PP's change of plans is irrelevant.

However, a "celebratory" gathering might be premature. PP is very persistent and very well funded, so I wouldn't count this as anything more than a bump in the bloody road down which they travel. And in the long term view, I'm not even sure that interrupting their building plans is the most effective strategy for fighting them.

But I do want to add my wholehearted agreement with this statement: "Look, I realize certain pro-lifers can't get past the desire to be liked, or to serve more of a Samaritan or apologist role. For them there are many useful places to work, like pregnancy care centers and on the op ed pages."

If we all just seek out our most effective roles in this struggle, and respect that other people must do the same, we can be much more effective than when we try to force everyone into the same box. Not every prolifer is cut out to follow the same path, but they can all do their part.

Posted by: Doyle Chadwick at August 18, 2009 8:03 AM


'Look, I realize certain pro-lifers can't get past the desire to be liked, or to serve more of a Samaritan or apologist role. For them there are many useful places to work, like pregnancy care centers and on the op ed pages.

But abortion is the most ravaging human atrocity in all of history. A critically important component of the pro-life movement is showing it.'

I couldn't agree more! We all play our own part, and can't be sidetracked bickering.

This 'full court press' will, by the grace of God, be a strategy of victory for life.

As a Catholic, I, too, am heartened by Catholics and Protestants working together for life. We need to stand together in a culture that has been turning from the Lord, because we love all God's children, and because we will be held accountable for this atrocity in our midst.

Posted by: Mary Ann, Singing Mum at August 18, 2009 11:50 AM