DETROIT, April 30, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Pro-life Catholics in the Detroit area are outraged after learning that a Catholic-affiliated hospital system is allowing four local abortionists to maintain admitting privileges at one of its hospitals, as well as permitting one of them to perform sterilizations in an office on one of its campuses.
LifeSiteNews reported Tuesday that Providence Park Hospital in Novi, Michigan – part of the St. John Providence Catholic health care system – not only maintains ties with four separate abortion providers, but is also offering sterilizations in at least one of its offices and referring abortion-minded women to Planned Parenthood.
Additionally, there are reports that its outpatient facilities are prescribing and dispensing abortifacient drugs in violation of the USCCB’s Ethical and Religious Directives (ERD).
Pro-life advocates in the area say they have been pressuring both the hospital and the Archdiocese of Detroit to rectify the situation for the last three years, but both entities have so far failed to take action.
In response to these allegations, a coalition of pro-life groups will hold a rally on Friday, May 2 at noon near Providence Park Hospital in Novi, Michigan (map), featuring a prayer vigil and a flyover by an airplane outfitted with a large banner reading: “How ProLife is Providence Hospital?”
Organizers say they hope to draw attention to what they call a “three-legged stool” of grievances against the hospital: 1) Its ties to abortionists 2) Alleged participation in sterilizations and 3) Dispensation of abortifacient drugs.
The rally’s organizers say they hope their action will not only inspire hospital officials to cut all ties with the abortion industry, but spur pro-life activists in other cities to take similar action when Catholic hospitals fail to meet the pro-life standards set by the ERD.
Rally organizer David Theisen, a Detroit-area realtor and the founder of Real Estate for Life, told LifeSiteNews that St. John Providence is far from the only Catholic hospital system known to be tacitly or actively supporting practices that violate Catholic moral teaching.
“We did an informal survey of about seven states, and we found a bunch of hospitals that were in fact delivering abortifacients for outpatient customers; you didn’t even have to be in the hospital,” Theisen told LifeSiteNews. “This is happening all over the country.”
Theisen told LifeSiteNews the rally’s format will be familiar to anyone who has ever protested outside an abortion clinic.
“It will be a prayer vigil,” Theisen said. “Some people will be carrying signage; some people will be praying the Rosary.”
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The biggest difference between Friday’s event and a typical abortion clinic protest, he said, will be the hired airplane flying overhead with its banner – a tactic he hopes will be used in similar rallies going forward. “The fact that we were able to rent this airplane for under $700 is something we want pro-lifers in Cleveland and Phoenix and San Antonio and Lansing, Michigan [to know] so they can do the same thing. Fly over the hospital. Because if we just have a rally and then we fizzle out after two days of the news cycle, that’s no good. I’d like to see this spread, so don’t be afraid of the cost of the airplane – it was a bargain.”
Theisen says the response from archdiocesan officials to Friday’s planned rally has been lukewarm.
“They have said neither that they’re for it or against it,” Theisen told LifeSiteNews. “They’re fully aware of [the rally], and they’re not protesting it. They’re not asking us to cancel.” However, Theisen added, “So far, we have no indication that the Archbishop is going to come.”
Theisen says he believes Archbishop Vigneron will ultimately step in and force the hospital to do the right thing. “I think the only way [change] is going to happen is for the archbishop to use his moral authority, and I think he will, I believe he will,” Theisen told LifeSiteNews. “We’re here to support the archbishop.”
LifeSiteNews contacted the archdiocese to inquire about the rally and the allegations against St. John Providence.
“The Archdiocese of Detroit does not own or operate St. John Providence or any other hospitals,” archdiocesan spokesman Joe Kohn told LifeSiteNews. “You would have to contact the hospital about matters regarding its operations. It can be said in general, however, that the Catholic hospitals within the archdiocese demonstrate devotion to their Catholic identity and adherence to the ethical and religious directives.”
St. John Providence did not respond to LifeSiteNews’ requests for comment.
A number of groups beside Theisen’s are involved with Friday’s event, including a Catholic group called Call to Holiness. In a statement announcing the rally, Call to Holiness said, “It is an opportunity to open discussions as to the veracity of these reports and to show the leadership of these Catholic medical facilities the seriousness of these reported violations of the USCCB’s ERDs. This is also a great opportunity to be an ‘intentional’ disciple and a witness to the general public driving by this corner.”
Friday’s rally will be held at noon at the corner of Grand River Avenue and Beck Road in Novi, Michigan. For more information, e-mail David Theisen at [email protected].