Recently, an eastern Pennsylvania health system announced plans to stop offering abortions once it merges with a Catholic health system next year.
Abington and Holy Redeemer health systems have not announced the details of the planned merger, but Abington officials said it plans to continue offering non-abortion reproductive services.
News articles in the past few days emphasize the outrage of doctors, clergy, patients and others who don’t like the decision. People are filing petitions and threatening to quit, inundating top hospital administrators with letters, and more – all because they want abortions to continue.
And news articles give the impression that nothing has been said or done on the pro-life side. It takes a little digging to find out how involved pro-lifers have been at Abington.
A 2010 Philadelphia Inquirer article on Abington Memorial Hospital’s website sheds some light on the community’s pro-life stance.
According to the article: “For as long as anyone at Abington can remember, one subject has dominated the public portion of the annual (hospital board) meeting: abortion. Members of the antiabortion community, filling the room, hoped and prayed (2010) would be the year, finally, the board would change its policy.”
During that 2010 meeting, the Rev. Mark Rudolph told the board how the hospital saved his son’s life after a serious car accident.
“How can a hospital that’s so committed to skill and ability to preserving life also have a hand in destroying it?”
Two pro-life physicians at Abington also spoke, and a petition signed by 4,000 people was given to the board asking them to end abortion practices at the hospital. In 2009, a similar petition had 3,000 signatures, according to the article.
Along with attending the meetings, people from the pro-life community met every month outside the hospital for a prayer vigil to end abortions. This tradition has been going on for 30 years.
Finally, in 2012, the merger brought hope amid the persistent prayers and petitions. The health system agreed to stop performing abortions when it merges with Holy Redeemer.
Sadly, though, the recent news reports do not mention these people’s long-term efforts to defend the unborn.
Hopefully, Abington will remember the passion these pro-life people have for protecting innocent lives and stick to its plan to stop doing abortions.