by Steven Ertelt
March 26, 2008
Portland, OR (LifeNews.com) — Pro-life advocates in Portland continue their efforts to protest and pray against a new abortion center Planned Parenthood is building in the heart of an African-American community. In February, local pro-life organizer Bill Diss, a member of St. Francis Parish in Sherwood, prompted residents to ask Ankrom Moisan Architects not to be involved.
The tactic follows other attempts in Austin, Denver and other large cities to get builders and contractors to bow out of participating in the building of an abortion facility.
Diss has also been getting pro-life people to contact the Portland City Council, the Portland Development Commission and Portland Mayor Tom Potter.
The Catholic Sentinel newspaper indicates progress on the new Planned Parenthood abortion business has stalled as no contracts have been signed for constructing the center.
The fight began when the Portland Development Commission approved the sale of urban renewal property to Planned Parenthood on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd and Beech in the N.E. Portland corridor.
Diss has since created the group Precious Children of Portland to stop the building and he and local residents say they’re worried the abortion business is targeting black residents.
"Planned Parenthood wants to move and enlarge their headquarters and abortion center from an area in southeast Portland with a black population of about 1% and place it in the King neighborhood that has a black population of about 43%," he explains.
"Portland only has an overall population of about 6% Blacks. Planned Parenthood will reduce this number even more with their new facility," Diss says.
He also complains the Portland Development Commission betrayed the interests of the local ethnic community it was support to promote.
"The PDC is supposed to assist local and minority owned businesses for the long-term sustainable growth of Portland. Instead, PDC is using taxpayer resources to help Planned Parenthood, an international, multi-million dollar organization," he says.
Planned Parenthood’s abortion business is growing and its leaders want to move its large center to a part of Portland where city officials had been hoping to revitalize a formerly run-down area.
Planned Parenthood of the Columbia/Willamette would open a new abortion center with more than 140 employees.
David Greenberg, president of the abortion business, told the Oregonian that it’s moving because it’s experiencing more funding and more demand for its family planning services and has run out of space at its current location in the Southeast part of town.
Rev. LeRoy Haynes Jr., pastor at the nearby Allen Temple Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, previously said the black community in Portland isn’t happy about having a Planned Parenthood there.
"If they would bring a clinic that does abortions, that would be a big issue in our community," he told the Oregonian newspaper. "It is a moral, faith-based issue to me."
Last year, Oregonians voted against a parental involvement proposal by a 54-46 percentage margin after Planned Parenthood outspent pro-life advocates 3-1 and flooded the airwaves with a misleading television commercial.
But, thanks to efforts from Oregon Right to Life and crisis pregnancy centers, abortions in Oregon are down to their lowest levels since 1998, having decreased 20 percent between then and 2004, the latest year from which state data is available.
The Oregon Department of Human Services reported 14,344 abortions in 1998, but that number decreased to 11,443 abortions in 2004.