Chiefland churches ban together against abortion

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By Mark Scohier, Staff writer

Dozens of people stood on street corners and sidewalks in Chiefland Sunday holding up signs calling for an end to abortion.

The demonstrators, from various local churches, were participating in Life Chain, a national event meant to increase awareness about abortion and its alternatives.

Matthew Kidd, 16, Chiefland, stood in front of Chiefland High School holding a sign that read, “Abortion kills children.”

“We think abortion is wrong.  This is just one of the ways we tell the community,” he said.

Kidd, who is a member of the First Baptist Church in Chiefland, said most of the people driving by in their cars honked and showed support.

But he added, “ We’ve had a couple of people give us the finger.  There are always a few bad apples.”

Marilyn Murphy, Chiefland, participated in the demonstration of behalf of St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Chiefland.

Murphy said there’s no good reason for abortion, and unwanted babies should be put up for adoption.

“ I’ve seen programs of children who were born of sexual assault, and the children say they were glad they were born.  Many of the people who have had abortions regretted it,” she said.

Marie Strange, who helped organize the 47 participants from First Baptist Church, said, “ In our nation, it is legal to abort a baby one minute before it is born.”

She said it’s the fault of the government and organizations like Planned Parenthood.  Strange said, “Planned Parenthood tells women ‘babies are just blobs.’ ”

But Natalie Muniz, director of education and communications for Planned Parenthood of Florida, said the organization never attempts to push pregnant women in any particular direction.

“ It’s just not at all our place,” she said.

She also said about 90 percent of abortions are performed in the early stages of pregnancy.

“A very, very small percentage is done in the third trimester.”

In fact, she said, the law requires that two doctors must provide in writing statements that attest to the fact that a woman’s life is in danger before they can perform such a procedure.

Moreover, Muniz said, doctors also have an obligation to protect the life of the baby at that point in its development.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Florida had 92,513 abortions in 2005, the third highest rate in the U.S.  Only California and New York state were higher.

The CDCP states that the highest rates of abortion — 81 percent — were among unmarried women.  Fifty three percent of the total were white, and 50 percent of the total were age 25 or younger.

There were 820,151 abortions reported from 49 states in 2005, which is higher than Canada or any Western European countries.

The CDCP also reports that while the abortion rate in the U.S. dropped between 1995 and 2005, it has remained unchanged ever since.