As I reached out to take a bright yellow balloon with the bold word “LIFE” stamped across it, I was struck by the monumental significance of the event we were celebrating. A crowd of about 120 people, adults and children alike, was gathered on the grassy lawn behind a gray, dismal, not too imposing-looking building – the kind of building that usually wouldn’t merit a second glance. But we were there on that beautiful spring day, May 11, for good reason – a blessed kind of reason.
Closed for good celebration.
Absolutely NO abortion clinics.
The last remaining abortion clinic in Livonia, Michigan, closed its doors for good in March 2013. It is one of the seven Michigan abortion clinics that have closed since September 2012. The new owners of the building in Livonia refuse to rent to any abortion providers. What a cause for celebration!
Lynn Mills, active pro-life warrior and investigator for the past 31 years, organized and led the celebratory event. Pastor Mike Panich from the Cornerstone Worship Center opened with prayer, and a young Eagle Scout led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Several speakers lent their words of wisdom and encouragement to the event. Robin Sullivan, a woman who had an abortion 36 years ago and has been active in the pro-life movement ever since she experienced God’s healing and forgiving Hand 35 years ago, gave her very powerful testimony. She pointed out that “God doesn’t call us to be successful; He calls us to be faithful.”
Len Simons, an active counselor in the pro-life movement, told the story of his involvement in a protest at Planned Parenthood in Warren. Both pro-lifers and pro-choicers were there, and when the police arrived, both pro-lifers and pro-choicers were arrested. Len spent time in jail, where pro-lifers and pro-choicers were locked together in the same cell. “That was a great opportunity for us to talk!” he told us, and the crowd responded with understanding laughter.
“Little acts of obedience are vitally important. We may sometimes feel like small people with little influence, but those are the people who do great things,” said Al Kresta, CEO of Ave Maria Radio. Al pointed out the great encouragement the closing of an abortion clinic brings to the pro-life movement. So often, the obstacles and forces against us seem insurmountable – but here we celebrate, because here we have been blessed to see some of the fruits of our labor.
Lynn Mills shared stories of saves and conversions at the abortion clinic. “Those lives were changed forever… because someone cared. You cared. You don’t know who you’re going to touch when you do this work. You may never find out. But keep doing it. Keep caring.”
Joe Scheidler, “Godfather of Activism,” Director of the Pro-Life Action League, and author of 99 Ways to Close an Abortion Clinic, spoke about how we in the pro-life movement are putting our beliefs into action. The beliefs are the foundation, to be sure, but activism is also essential in this fight – this fight which “we will win because we have truth on our side, God as our director, and Jesus as our fellow traveler.”
Lynn Mills offered closing remarks with the story of how God found a buyer for the closed abortion clinic. When she discovered that the clinic had closed, she collapsed on the sidewalk in front of the building and wept for joy. A man pulled over in his car because he thought she had been mugged. “No, no!” she cried. “They’re tears of joy! Because it’s closed!” After Lynn explained the situation, the man replied, “Well, I’m pro-life, and I want to buy that building.” Just a few days later, this pro-life businessman named Bill owned the building and had a sign put up that read, “For Lease: ABSOLUTELY NO Abortion Clinics”! What an act of providence!
After Father Joseph Marquis, Pastor of Sacred Heart Byzantine Church, closed with prayer, and the energetic teenage Crusaders for Life sang some songs and released their yellow “LIFE” balloons into the sky, the event attendees had the opportunity to walk through the former abortion clinic (which fortunately had been blessed by a priest just days earlier).
Warily, I stepped through the back doorway and made my way down the hall, peering into each stark room, remembering the women and babies harmed in the now-empty building, praising God that no more murders would happen in this place.
Closed for good celebration! Amen!
LifeNews Note: Lea Wojciechowski is a Young Professionals for Life Blogger