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New Planned Parenthood performing abortions in Seaford focus of ’40 Days for Life’ beginning Sept. 22

Participants in 40 Days for Life outside the Dover Planned Parenthood clinic. (Courtesy Donna Latteri)

The pro-life community in Sussex County will be praying outside the home of a new Planned Parenthood beginning Sept. 22 as part of the semi-annual “40 Days for Life” campaign. According to Planned Parenthood of Delaware, the new site is scheduled to open this month.

Chris Maddox, the outreach minister at Old Paths Church of Christ in Georgetown, is leading the 40 Days for Life effort. He said that when news broke of the new clinic, he reached out to the national 40 Days for Life organization to see if anything had been organized for Seaford. Everything came together in about a week’s time. Maddox said in late August that he worked with the Delaware Family Policy Council and some other organizations to put the prayer vigil together.

“It’s still in the early stages of recruiting people. We haven’t had a lot of people sign up yet,” he said.

Planned Parenthood will open in the Herring Run Professional Park off Route 13. According to Planned Parenthood of Delaware, it would serve western Sussex County, as well as nearby areas in Maryland. A Planned Parenthood location in Rehoboth Beach closed in 2011.

In addition to abortion services, the location will provide gynecological examinations and health screenings.

Maddox, who works across the street from the location of the new clinic, said it has not gotten much attention because work on the opening has been done quietly. Once people see more action there, he expects the pro-life community to become much more engaged.

Father Steven Giuliano, pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Seaford, said Sept. 8 that he has not heard from his parishioners regarding the new Planned Parenthood. He said he is “not into protesting and marching,” preferring to work on providing alternatives to women who have to make a decision about whether to carry their pregnancy to term.

“My style is more to challenge our folks” about what they are doing to help these women, he said. “What are we going to do to help women who make the difficult choice to keep their child?”

The parish supports a crisis pregnancy center in Georgetown, he said, hosting an annual fundraiser. More support for women facing an unwanted pregnancy and for organizations such as that would reduce the number of abortions, he added.

“That’s where I believe God’s calling me and I believe God’s calling us as a church also, to do whatever we can to help really take care of the needs of women who find themselves carrying a child and are not sure” how they are going to provide for that child, he said in his morning reflection on Sept. 8, which was posted online.

Maddox said his parents were encouraged to abort his sister, which inspired him to become “more passionately pro-life.” He said women who go to Planned Parenthood for health services are lied to and pushed to make a decision they later often regret, one that could destroy their lives and possibly their soul.

“My feelings on Planned Parenthood is that they are an outlet for, to put it very bluntly, death and destruction,” he said.

In his reflection and during his homily on Sept. 8, the birthdate of the Blessed Mother, Father Giuliano made the point that women facing an unwanted pregnancy are often in dire straits, and many need health services. He suggested that people encourage these women and not just protest abortion.

“We have to speak out in favor of women who are pregnant,” he said. “We have to do all we can to make sure that they are able to access all the services, that they are able to receive the support they need, that they are able to have their needs taken care of by the community at large.

“It’s one thing for us to say, ‘I support life.’ But how are we helping others choose life as well?”

In an interview, Father Giuliano said he is curious to see how the Seaford location fares.

“It will be interesting to see how long it lasts. Western Sussex is a much more traditional conservative area,” he said.