Clinic Exorcism

In the US, anti-abortionists use many tactics to try and prevent women from receiving health care. The group “40 Days for Life” in Dayton, Ohio is trying a new tactic. They have praying outside a clinic for decades, but now they are going to try an exorcism.

The Rev. Steve J. Angi, chancellor of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati, has given permission for priests to say exorcism prayers at a 2 p.m. rally outside the Women’s Med Center, 1401 E. Stroop Road, the Miami Valley’s only abortion clinic. The clinic is closed on Sundays.

Ruth Reddens, an organizer of the 40 Days for Life campaign that plans the vigil, sought Angi’s permission to perform the “exorcism of locality,” designed to drive evil out of a place, rather than out of a person. “Hopefully, the spiritual battle will be won,” she said.

Although the chief at the clinic hadn’t commented, the spokesperson for Planned Parenthood didn’t seem too distressed over the news.

Rick Pender, spokesman for Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio, which refers local women for abortions and performs abortions at a clinic in Cincinnati, said, “This is America — people have a right to free speech. We don’t agree that we’re doing something evil. We’re providing a service that is needed and appreciated by a lot of people.”

It seems to me like just another useless prayer.

Participants will be reading the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel, written by Pope Leo XIII in 1886. It reads, in part, “Seize the dragon, the ancient serpent, which is the devil and Satan, bind him and cast him into the bottomless pit, that he may no longer seduce the nations.”

“This (prayer) is said over a place that’s infested with the evil spirit, to remove any evil that might happen to be there,” said the Rev. Earl Fernandes, dean of the Athenaeum of Ohio seminary in Cincinnati.

He said it’s one of the minor exorcisms in Catholic tradition, meant to “turn people away from sin and toward the Holy Spirit.”

That’s the way they view health care for women–infested with evil. Apparently, an exorcism had been held at a clinic in Illinois that was closed afterwards due to health and safety violations. It seems that a call to the inspectors would have been simpler.

“We’re all Catholic now,” Deddens [sic] said. “Everybody needs to stand for freedom or they’re coming for you next.”

They battle, they pray, and they perform exorcisms supposedly in the name of freedom in order to curtail the rights of women.

Lest Canadians get too smug on this issue, Jason Thibeault at the Lousy Canuck blog warns us that the Tories are bringing the discussion back to Canada.

Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth is attempting to get Parliament to take up debate on the topic by calling into question the legal definition of “human being” — and he may just get away with it, because he’s exercising his power as a private member to make his proposal, leading to debate and a vote. All this without sullying the Harper government’s reputation, such as it is, for following through on all its campaign promises.

Because this is a private members bill, it can reach the floor with Harper breaking his promise not to re-open the debate. It should be settled and not re-opened in any way other than improving access for women who need it the most.

PEI is, as far as I know, the only province where women can’t access abortion services, and must travel out of province at their own expense. The situation here is that the province will fund the procedure out of province with the agreement of 2 physicians. However, out of province travel costs are not covered, and easily push the availability out of the reach of low income women. Again, the right wing’s ideology does not provide assistance for those at the lower end of the income ladder.

If, by some accident, their God decided to answer their prayers of exorcism, perhaps their hearts eyes would be opened and they would see the harm they are doing to these women. Afterwards, a herd of swine would hurl themselves off the nearest cliffs.

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