Birmingham pastors: ‘Planned Parenthood is not welcome and has no place in our city’
An interdenominational group of Birmingham-area pastors and clergy on Thursday held a press conference at the site of the under-construction Planned Parenthood abortion facility in the Magic City, with faith leaders of different genders and races coming together to say “all lives matter.”
The new abortion center is being built at 1019 1st Avenue North. Planned Parenthood Birmingham has not been able to perform abortions at its existing facility located at 1211 27th Place South since 2017.
Metro Birmingham Life Forum, spearheaded by Charismatic Episcopal Church’s Fr. Terry Gensemer, organized the press conference.
In a press release ahead of Thursday’s gathering, Gensemer emphasized, “Planned Parenthood is not welcome and has no place in our city.”
“Every abortion clinic that has ever existed in Birmingham has failed – including Planned Parenthood, which hasn’t done abortions in nearly two years,” he said. “But our pregnancy centers continue to thrive, offering compassion, resources, and legitimate medical care, all at no cost to the woman. The church has been a huge part of that progress, and as pastors we are called to uphold that which is good.”
This group of faith leaders was created in response to the new Planned Parenthood abortion center, which pro-life Alabamians have been campaigning against for over a year now.
Leadership is represented from a whole spectrum of denominations, including Anglican, Catholic, Baptist, Charismatic Episcopalian and Presbyterian, as well as non-denominational.
Several leaders from predominantly black churches are a part of the group and have lamented that 60% of babies aborted in Alabama are black despite the state’s population only being approximately 1/4 black.
Pastor Zanthia Turner of Bread of Life World Outreach Ministries said, “As an African American woman, I am concerned that if we as a Black community and community leaders allow this abortion center to be built, we will not only bring shame to our culture but also send a mixed message about whose life matters.”
“If all lives matter, why not the All? We stand as one voice to break the silence and defeat the lie that we don’t care about our children, communities and families,” she continued. “Planned Parenthood, we will no longer accept your lies. We Matter!”
Evangelist Scott Dawson was a featured speaker at the event.
He said this is an especially personal issue for him, as his mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer when she was pregnant with him and still carried him to term.
Dawson applauded Alabama’s state legislature and Governor Kay Ivey for “the most aggressive pro-life stance in our country.”
“Every life has purpose,” he emphasized, also mentioning that the Yellowhammer State set a record for adoptions just last year.
Another black faith leader who spoke at the press conference, Bishop Jim Lowe of Guiding Light Church, stressed that abortion is an “injustice being perpetrated against the innocent, living human beings” in the womb.
“This crime is an injustice that cannot escape the righteous justice of an almighty God,” he added.
Lowe called abortion “murder” and said “all life is precious,” whether born or “pre-born.”
He continued to compare abortion, as an “injustice,” to slavery. Lowe passionately stated that eventually ending abortion in America would be as righteous and just as codifying the 14th Amendment to end the injustice of Dred Scott.
“A nation with its foundations crumbling can no longer stand,” he lamented. “We must learn to stand together against injustice wherever injustice is.”
Other speakers at the event included: Dr. Harry Reeder, Briarwood Presbyterian Church; Dr. Chris Peters, Cross Creek Church PCA; Fr. Michael Novotny, Christ the King Anglican; Bishop Demetrics Roscoe, Living Church Ministries; Fr. Josh Altonji, St. Stephen the Martyr; and Pastor Sam Bryant, Vestavia Primitive Baptist.
Other local pastors who attended or are in support of this effort include: Fr. Gerry McDermott, Christ the King Anglican; Pastor Joshua Winslett, Beulah Primitive Baptist Church; Fr. Mark Finley & Fr. Bill Xenos, Church of the Reconciler; Pastor David Haynes, First Baptist Church of Center Point; Pastor Justin Wallick, Christ Church Branch Cove; Pastor Josh Coker, Vestavia Primitive Baptist; Pastor Paul Hughes, Birmingham Prayer Furnace; Al Baker, Evangelist PCA; Dr. Jim Maples, Pleasant Grove Presbyterian Church; Pastor Phil Chambers, Christ Community Church; Pastor Jeff Lowman, Evangel Church, PCA; Rev. Rick Hutchinson, Christ Community Church Springville, PCA.
Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn