by Steven Ertelt
December 11, 2006
Tulsa, OK (LifeNews.com) — Pro-life advocates in Tulsa have been gathering outside the Reproductive Services of Tulsa abortion center for years praying, talking to women considering an abortion and educating passersby. Now they will have an official place to conduct their pro-life outreach as the Diocese of Tulsa has purchased land near the center.
Two months ago, the Catholic diocese bought a half-acre empty lot across the street from the abortion facility.
Tim Sullivan, executive director of Catholic Charities, told the Tulsa World that the diocese has not yet decided what it will do with the land.
"This gives us a place where we can hold prayer, and support of life, and a place to offer support for people that might otherwise choose abortion," he said.
"Our hope is to collaborate on an ecumenical basis with others who are supporting life, to come up with a plan to make a more prayerful atmosphere here, maybe gardens," Sullivan told the newspaper. "We don’t want this to be a place of confrontation."
He said he wants the land to be used to send a message to women considering an abortion that they’re not condemned but that people are praying for them and want to help them make a better decision.
The World reported that Bishop Edward J. Slattery of the Diocese of Tulsa prayed over the land Saturday morning and pointed out that it will be used for a spiritual purpose.
"Our message is that life is sacred from the moment of conception, and that we have to be consistent. We cannot simply stand by and allow abortions and say nothing," he said. "For us, to say nothing would be terribly wrong.
John Johnson, chancellor of the diocese, said the church may also build a memorial to unborn children on the property.
Meanwhile, Reproductive Services executive administrator Linda Meek, told the newspaper she had no issues with the diocese buying the land as long as they are peaceful.
"I guess that’s fine. They’ve been coming here for years. They’re always quiet and peaceful," she said.
The number of abortions at the facility has gone down over the recent years but Meek said in 2003 that it did about 2,200-2,400 abortions.
Meek’s abortion center opposed two new abortion laws approved by the Oklahoma state legislature that went into effect last month. They include a measure requiring the consent of one parent before a teenager can have an abortion and another giving women the option to see an ultrasound of her unborn baby before the abortion is done.
Abortion practitioners are required to keep the forms on hand for five years to prove they obtained the required consent.
When women going to crisis pregnancy centers view an ultrasound, they almost always decide against having an abortion. Lawmakers hope a high percentage of women will change their mind after viewing one at an abortion business.
Meek said these kinds of laws "are less to encourage women to seek information than to discourage them to seek an abortion."
Nova Health Systems, the parent group of the Tulsa’s Reproductive Services abortion center, filed a lawsuit against the new laws and asked for an injunction preventing the law from going into effect during its lawsuit to overturn it.
However, a three-judge panel of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver rejected the request in August.