A small group of parishioners from a Pacifica Catholic congregation, , picketed outside of a proposed Planned Parenthood site in Redwood City last week.
The protest was part of an anti-abortion campaign organized by 40 Days for Life which, according to a statement issued by the organization, is "a community-based campaign that draws attention to the evil of abortion through the use of a three point program: prayer and fasting, constant vigil, community outreach."
The campaign started on March 9 and lasts until April 17.
In 1998, the organization's National Campaign Director David Bereit led the first 40 Days for Life campaign in College Station, Texas, in an effort to stop Planned Parenthood from building an "abortion clinic" in the town.
Planned Parenthood is not a self-described “abortion clinic,” but a “trusted health care provider, an informed educator, a passionate advocate, and a global partner helping similar organizations around the world,” according to a statement from the network of clinics. Planned Parenthood clinics provide reproductive health care and also medical procedures for abortion.
Since the inception of this first campaign, 40 Days for Life has been closely affiliated with Christian religious values and is organized at a grass-roots level among Christian congregations across the U.S.
Pacifica's Church of the Good Shepherd is one of those participating congregations.
On Thursday, a small group representing Good Shepherd stood in 80 degree heat with picket signs reading “Defend Life” and “Pray to End Abortion” at the corner of El Camino Real and Renato Court in Redwood City--an empty lot where Planned Parenthood Mar Monte has applied for a permit.
Among the group were two members of the Knights of Columbus, an international Christian brotherhood of an estimated 1.8 million members: Jeff Patino and Joe Delorio.
Patino is a father of nine. His wife and young son also stood with picket signs in support of the 40 Days for Life campaign.
Like the other 40 Days for Life picketers, Patino does not want a Planned Parenthood to be established in Redwood City, or anywhere for that matter, as long as the clinics perform abortion procedures.
By Planned Parenthood's account, the potential establishment of this clinic is essential to the community of Redwood City.
According to a statement from Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, “The dismal economy has created an especially urgent need for Planned Parenthood’s services, including contraception, breast- and cervical-cancer screening and general health care for adults.”
Patino disputes any assertion that the 40 Days for Life campaign stands in the way of providing such medical care to low-income women, who make up the majority of Planned Parenthood’s clients.
“Planned Parenthood is crying foul that people like us are taking away health services from unfortunate young ladies who need it,” said Patino. “We have no problem providing tax dollars for health care, we just don’t want to fund abortion."
Whether or not the proposed Planned Parenthood clinic will open at this site in Redwood City is yet to be determined by the city’s zoning department.
Redwood City Patch previously reported that a was held in January, and residents on both sides of the fence shared their input both for and against the clinic.
Good Shepherd Church did not return a request for comment on the protest at the time of publishing this article.