The newly formed group, Doctors for Life, was founded after local pro-life supporters spoke at the Monroe County Council meeting in August where a grant was approved for sexually transmitted disease testing at Planned Parenthood .
Founded by cardiovascular surgeon Dr. David Hart and internal medicine physician Dr. Adam Spaetti, the group reached out to Bloomington’s medical community to speak out against doctors performing abortions.
“It occurred to me that we probably have enough committed Christian doctors in town that we ought to have something to say since this is a medical issue,” Hart said.
Twenty-eight local doctors and researchers, including two IU professors, attended the rally.
Physicians addressed a crowd of nearly 100 Bloomington residents.
“The whole point of civil society — the whole point of the social contract — is so that the weak, vulnerable and helpless will not be trampled by the Genghis Khans, Adolf Hitlers, Joseph Mengeles and Planned Parenthoods of the world,” Hart said.
The rally lasted two hours with continuous interruptions from cars and bystanders on College Avenue. Several people rolled down their windows to yell at the pro-life supporters throughout the rally.
IU alumnus Josh Fleck stood across the street in counter protest to the pro-life supporters, holding a sign that read “American Capitalism Kills Children.” Fleck supports Catholics for Choice, a non-profit organization that supports women’s right to reproductive health.
“Ultimately, what it comes down to is a woman, or people who are allowed to bare children, are allowed to determine what the hell they can do with their own bodies,” Fleck said.
When approached by a rally attendant, Fleck put his hand over his mouth and refused to speak or be photographed by the attendant.
Halfway through the rally, a Bloomington resident opened his passenger door and yelled profanities.
He later came back during the closing prayer and yelled “God bless Satan!” as he walked through the crowd.
As the rally ended he continued to yell from across the street.
Bloomington Police Sgt. Jeff Canada arrived on the scene in response to a complaint about the disturbance. The dispute was settled civilly and quickly with no arrests made.
“That was one of the easy ones,” Canada said.
The rally came in correlation with the 40 Days of Life prayer vigil. As a part of this international campaign, pro-life supporters will sit and silently pray outside of Planned Parenthood every day until Nov. 1, Siefker said.
The 40 Days of Lifeprayer vigil is the largest internationally coordinated pro-life mobilization, according to its website.
The rally also generated financial support for the Gabriel Project, a mobile pregnancy unit offering free pregnancy tests and ultrasounds, 40 Days of Life Director Monica Siefker said.
“We have to change hearts, and we know that and that’s what we’re praying for,” Siefker said. “We want to be the face of love for people, to show them that we’re glad you’re here, we’re glad you’re born, we love you, let’s give that right to everybody.”
Siefker and other pro-life supporters routinely stand outside of Bloomington’s Planned Parenthood as part of “sidewalk advocacy.”
Every Tuesday and Thursday, the group hands out literature and encourages Planned Parenthood patients to choose life.
“We joke it’s my second home,” Siefker said. “We love them (Planned Parenthood workers). I’m sure they wish we weren’t here, but we’re praying for them.”
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