Texas Rallies Focus Attention on Austin Planned Parenthood Boycott

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 4, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Texas Rallies Focus Attention on Austin Planned Parenthood Boycott

by Maria Gallagher
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
December 4, 2003

Austin, TX (LifeNews.com) — Central Texas pro-life advocates, boosted by the success and national attention of halting construction on an Austin abortion facility, are staging pro-life rallies throughout the central and southeast regions of the state to rally support and continue pressure on builders who may take part in the construction project.

The Brazos Valley Coalition for Life has been sponsoring rallies to call attention to the effort to stop construction of a $6.2 million Planned Parenthood abortion center in the city.

More than two-dozen pro-life groups in the Lone Star State have joined with the pro-life group to mount rallies in Austin, College Station, and Houston.

According to David Bereit, executive director of the Coalition for Life, “It’s amazing to see the unity forming among people opposed to abortion in Texas. Hundreds of enthusiastic Christians packed the room at the Austin rally on Tuesday night despite vocal abortion advocates who tried to disrupt the event by yelling and jumping onto the stage during a presentation.”

Bereit added, “Right now, the Lone Star State is at the center of the national struggle against the injustice of abortion. Texas pro-lifers are uniting together against abortion in a historic fashion, and we will not quit until the greatest evil of our generation ends."

The boycott effort has successfully mobilized thousands of people across Texas, according to Chris Danze, who has persuaded hundreds of contractors and builders not to work on the abortion facility construction project.

Danze and his wife, Sheri, are devout Catholics and Sheri is co-coordinator of the Gabriel Project, a crisis pregnancy center run by the Catholic Diocese.

Chris is president of a concrete construction company, Maldonado & Danze Inc. His construction contacts enabled him to work the phone and send e-mails urging contractors and vendors against participating in the building project.

As a result of Danze’s efforts, Planned Parenthood lost its major contractor, jeopardizing construction of the abortion center. It has been a month since any construction went on at the abortion facility building site in Austin.

The campaign has been so successful, in fact, that Planned Parenthood has launched a counter-offensive, attempting to mobilize pro-abortion activists nationwide against Central Texas pro-life efforts.

Planned Parenthood President Gloria Feldt sent an e-mail denouncing Austin’s pro-life campaign to some 80,000 people throughout the U.S. last week.

Glenda Parks, chair of the Austin-area Planned Parenthood, said the outpouring of support both in Austin and nationwide has been tremendous. But the abortion facility is making no progress in being built.

Despite the boycott, the lead architect on the project is committed to seeing it through.

Tom Hatch says the boycott doesn’t phase him because he is "a former board member of Planned Parenthood, and I’ve worked with them for 25 years, designing their clinics."

"Architects don’t make a lot of money, so that was my way of contributing," Hatch added. He says he is building the abortion facility because abortion can "remedy most of society’s ills."

Danze says he’ll continue his boycott efforts.

"Business people need to be cognizant of who they’re working for," he said. "And if they have a philosophical problem with a particular industry or business, then they should not engage in business activities with those businesses."

The pro-life campaign against Planned Parenthood began long before the construction boycott.

The Coalition for Life began in 1998 when Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion operation, announced plans to build the first abortion center in the history of the Brazos Valley. Since then, Planned Parenthood has aborted more than 1,956 children in Bryan.

Pro-life leaders are asking residents of central Texas to sign a petition endorsing the Planned Parenthood boycott. Organizers of the petition drive are hoping to gather at least a thousand signatures.

If you live in Austin or within eighty miles of the city and would like to sign the petition, you can add your signature at https://www.boycottplannedparenthood.org. The signatures will be placed in an advertisement that will appear in the Austin American Statesman.