January 22, 2015 will mark the 42nd anniversary of legalized abortion in America because of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision. While the global pro-life community prepares for its largest March for Life ever in Washington DC, a Wichita church will be hosting a different sort of commemoration—a celebration of abortion for Planned Parenthood.
St. James Episcopal Church is offering a “Chili for Choice” dinner, celebrating 42 years of abortion with Planned Parenthood of Kansas & Mid-Missouri.
Planned Parenthood claims responsibility for nearly a third of all abortions performed in the United States. According to Planned Parenthood’s annual report for 2013-2014, the non-profit family planning giant executed 327,653 abortions in that year, an increase from the 2012-2013 number of 327,166.
The Guttmacher Institute, in its most recent abortion statistics, reported there were 1.06 million abortions performed in the United States in 2011, and that 21% of all pregnancies in the country end in abortion.
According to Guttmacher, in 2011-2012, the average amount paid for a nonhospital abortion with local anesthesia at 10 weeks’ gestation was $480.
Among Christian churches, the Episcopal Church was one of the forerunners of support for abortion, even prior to the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision. In its 1967 “General Convention,” the Episcopal Church declared support for the “termination of pregnancy” particularly in those cases where “the physical or mental health of the mother is threatened seriously, or where there is substantial reason to believe that the child would be born badly deformed in mind or body, or where the pregnancy has resulted from rape or incest.”
The Episcopal Church, however, seems to be in membership freefall, having lost more than 273,000 members (13%) in the five-year period from 2007-2012. The Church also revealed that average Sunday attendance has declined dramatically as well, with a drop of nearly 25% in only ten years, during the period 2002-2012.
When asked why the Church was declining, Jeff Walton, Anglican program director at the Institute on Religion & Democracy, said he believed demographic trends and the hierarchy’s wholesale acceptance of liberal theology were to blame.
In its General Convention of 1994, the Church denied the right of states to limit access to abortion or restrict its performance. The Convention resolved to “express its unequivocal opposition to any legislative, executive or judicial action on the part of local, state or national governments that abridges the right of a woman to reach an informed decision about the termination of pregnancy or that would limit the access of a woman to safe means of acting on her decision.”
Meanwhile, Congress is reintroducing legislation to defund Planned Parenthood. More than 80 members of the House of Representatives, led by Representative Diane Black, a pro-life Republican from Tennessee, have reintroduced the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act for 2015, which would deny taxpayer funds to Planned Parenthood to ensure that taxpayers are not financing the abortion industry.
“Planned Parenthood and organizations like it that profit off the destruction of innocent life do not deserve one more dime from American taxpayers,” Black said. “I have been proud to lead the charge against the funding of the big-abortion industry since my first days as a state legislator, and I am honored to continue this fight by reintroducing (this legislation).”
During the month of January, Planned Parenthood is organizing events across the country to celebrate the anniversary of Roe v Wade. As it does so, it will count on the blessing of at least one church, albeit a church in rapid decline.
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter @tdwilliamsrome