[Vision2020] Planned Parenthood gets boost from Palouse churches

Moscow Cares moscowcares at moscow.com
Sat Nov 7 07:56:08 PST 2015

Courtesy of today's (November 7, 2015) Spokesman-Review.

Planned Parenthood gets boost from Palouse churches
PULLMAN – Here and across the country, protests against Planned Parenthood have been infused with religious rhetoric: “God loves your unborn baby.” “Pray to end baby killing.”

But according to the Rev. Scott Lovaas, acting minister of the Community Congregational United Church of Christ, those protesters are a “vocal minority” within the Christian community.

In the wake of a Sept. 4 firebombing at the Planned Parenthood office building in Pullman, progressive churches have stepped up to support the embattled health care provider. Fundraising events at the United Church of Christ, in Pullman, and at the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Palouse, in Moscow, Idaho, together have garnered about $15,000 to help repair the damaged office building.

Some church members said they felt obligated to show support for Planned Parenthood at a time when many others show condemnation.

“The conservative Christians have kind of hijacked the Christian movement,” said Beth Waddel, a retired psychologist and member of the Community Congregational church. “And so we’re trying to reclaim that movement, to show what we stand for.”

About 150 people attended a fundraising event at the church Tuesday. Some participated in raffles and dropped cash into collection jars. Planned Parenthood representatives sold T-shirts. A few women took the stage to tell harrowing stories of their unplanned pregnancies – one of them due to rape.

WSU Interim President Daniel Bernardo attended the event and donated an undisclosed amount of his own money. He said the attack on the Pullman Planned Parenthood office was “nothing short of an act of terrorism on the community.”

A few blocks from the Washington State University campus, the Community Congregational United Church of Christ in the early 1960s housed the first Planned Parenthood clinic in Pullman.

“The congregational church has always been there for any group that needed them,” said Nora Mae Olfs, a longtime member. The range of services that Planned Parenthood provides, including abortions, are invaluable to the community, she said.

Abortions account for a small percentage of Planned Parenthood services. The organization mostly provides contraception, cancer screenings, sexually transmitted disease prevention and treatment, and referral services.

“In a college town, especially, you know you need a group like that, with those services,” she said. “I can’t even tell you how many of our low-income women were just devastated by being pregnant.”

Lovaas, the minister, said the Congregational Church advocates progressive values and social change informed by science. “When we learn something new we take that into account and we change,” he said.

Likewise, the Rev. Elizabeth Stevens, of the Unitarian Church in Moscow, said, “We’re a very science-friendly faith.” Members have staged counter-protests and raised money “to show people that just because you’re Christian or part of a religious institution doesn’t mean you’re against abortions and Planned Parenthood,” she said.

“It’s more about health and viability outside of the womb,” she said. “I don’t think it’s right to focus on the babies who haven’t been born yet more than the ones who are already walking around.”

Planned Parenthood has said it needs about $250,000 to cover repair costs, upgrade security measures and pay rent at its temporary Pullman location.

Fundraising campaigns by the two churches, the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund and The Stranger, a Seattle alternative weekly publication, have helped raise about $213,000, said Amy Biviano, development project manager for Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho. Repair work may be completed by early next year, she said.

Olfs said it’s a matter of personal belief whether abortion violates biblical teaching.

“My god is a forgiving god, and he would accept a woman and her decisions.”


CRANK IT UP, V-Peeps, for . . .

"I am Woman" by Helen Reddy

Seeya 'round town, Moscow, because . . .

"Moscow Cares" 
Tom Hansen
Moscow, Idaho
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