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Protesters Gather To Pray As Planned Parenthood Hosts Gala To Celebrate New ‘Mega-Center’ Next To School

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Steve Birr Vice Reporter

Pro-life organizers held a prayer protest outside a new Planned Parenthood facility next to a Washington, D.C., charter school, ahead of a party celebrating the new “mega-center” Monday night.

“The fact that its next to a charter school is beyond belief,” Rev. Patrick Mahoney, pastor of Church on the Hill DC, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “It shows an utter lack of respect for the feelings of this community and neighborhood. There is no regard for how this will impact the children. It’s shocking, it’s heartbreaking and deplorable that they are having a celebration to open up a place where lives will be taken. It’s just tragic.”

Officials with Planned Parenthood are hosting a celebratory gala Monday evening for the center’s official opening, which will include appearances from political leaders and actress Kathleen Turner. Pro-life organizers said they feel the need to peacefully protest the new center and the event with prayer. Protesters said they want to spread the message that there are other options and alternatives to the services provided at Planned Parenthood.

“Prayer is the foundation of what we do and who we are,” Mahoney said. “We are actually going to kneel right in the middle of the street and have a prayer right in front of them.”

They also want to draw attention to tonight’s gala, which they find disrespectful to the community and charter elementary and middle school that sits on the neighboring property.

“I think it’s absolutely incredible that these people celebrate the death of babies, but they’ve been doing this since the 1970s,” Jim Sedlak, Vice President of American Life League (ALL), told TheDCNF. “They say they have committed 7 million abortions in their own facilities since they started the service. We are out here and we pray for the babies, we pray for the mothers but we also pray for the people at Planned Parenthood that their eyes will be opened and they will be able to see the evil that is done.”

The Planned Parenthood clinic, which protesters refer to as a “mega-center,” will sit next to the Two Rivers Public Charter School in Northeast, D.C. It houses an elementary school and a middle school. Despite concerns from parents, officials at Two Rivers support the facility and will allegedly partner with them for the school’s sex education curriculum.

Activists say they want to emphasize that there are a wide array of pro-choice organizations that exist to help current workers at Planned Parenthood facilities. An organization called And Then There Were None is a group of former abortion clinic workers who have banded together and are giving aid to those who want to get out of the business. The organization says it helps former employees find jobs elsewhere.

“We had a worker quit last week,” Lauren Handy, field director of the Anti-Choice Project, told TheDCNF. “I showed her a picture of an abortion victim and she didn’t know Planned Parenthood did abortions. She left and said she was not coming back to work here.”

Handy and other protesters continue to hand out informational flyers on alternative healthcare and career options to people exiting and entering the new Planned Parenthood center. The organizers also said that although the center is officially open, the building is still under construction and the staff is not yet fully trained.

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