Jean McCarthy


UPDATED: Red Cross sets up blood drive outside abortion clinic

Jean McCarthy

Updated: Aug. 9, 2012 at 3:57 pm.

COLUMBUS, Ohio, August 8, 2012 ( – Local pro-lifers are seeing red after they discovered a Red Cross blood drive was held outside an Ohio abortion clinic on Tuesday.

Ruth Yorston, Director of Columbus Right to Life, was taken aback when the American Red Cross rolled onto the grounds of the facility and began its one-day blood drive.

She said that when a Red Cross worker was told that abortions were performed at Complete Healthcare for Women, where the blood drive was set up on August 7, the worker was shocked. “I had no idea,” she responded.

Yorston believes that the Red Cross, like many locals, was indeed unaware of the clinic’s use, and hopes churches, faith-based organizations, and community centers will host the drives instead.

“Let’s step up so that the Red Cross doesn’t need to go to the abortion clinic,” she said.


While the Red Cross has a reputation that is “hard fought and hard won,” said Yorston, “we encourage the Red Cross to consider who they are partnering with.”

“[Abortion is] contrary to what [they] are supposed to do, which is to protect life.”

The same day, the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform held signs outside the center for three hours.  “It was more of an education thing,” says Sarah Cleveland, the Director of Outreach at the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform and a medical professional.

She encouraged people to call the Red Cross to express concerns with their partnership, calling the situation ironic. “On the side of the truck it says, ‘Come Save a Life’ and they’re parked at a place that takes life.”

Many people in the community called the Red Cross to complain. “We’ve had a very good response from the community,” says Cleveland.

Rodney Wilson, Red Cross’s Communications Manager for Central Ohio, says that to the best of his knowledge “we weren’t aware of what types of services” the facility offered. 

He says, however, that the Red Cross typically does not ask questions about an organization’s principles and services. “We cannot restrict who receives our service or who participates as a volunteer…based upon their beliefs.”

Wilson stressed that remaining neutral and impartial has been a principle of the Red Cross since it began operations in the 1800s.  “We see ourselves as the go-between for a healthy person willing to give blood and a person in need of blood.”

He did acknowledge that the Red Cross “understands that abortion is something that people feel impassioned about.” He again reaffirmed that it is not the Red Cross’s place to take sides. 


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