WICHITA, Kansas, June 20 /Christian Newswire
/ -- Undeterred by heavy rains throughout the day and threats of disruption by abortion supporters, pro-lifers gathered Saturday evening at the now-closed late-term abortion clinic once operated by George Tiller for a memorial and prayer service.
Under skies that had temporarily cleared, a group of about 35 people laid hundreds of flowers at the clinic in honor of the babies and the women injured and killed there. The group offered prayers for peace and healing for the Tiller family and the community.
Members of a local pro-abortion group that threatened to disrupt the memorial service with Fred Phelps-style tactics were nowhere to be seen.
"This was never about confrontation. It was about praying for peace and healing. The abortion folks couldn't respect that, so we changed our plans," said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. "Instead, the day turned out better than we could have hoped."
In order to avoid disruption, the pro-lifers rescheduled their day and instead gathered at noon at Operation Rescue's National Headquarters, which was an abortion clinic before OR bought the building and evicted the abortion business. Prayers were offered and hundreds of flowers were laid at the site. They also conducted a similar service at a second location where an abortion business once stood and at Wesley Medical Center where at least one abortion patient, 19-year old Christin Gilbert, died from complications to a third trimester abortion received at Tiller's clinic in 2005.
In the evening, the group, led by Rev. Pat Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition, gathered outside Tiller's former abortion clinic and prayed, sang hymns, and placed the flowers. There was no sign of any opposition.
The signs that once identified the large stucco structure as an abortion clinic had been removed.
Currently, there are no facilities offering abortions in Wichita, making the city abortion-free for the first time since abortion was decriminalized in 1973.
"We pray that now all members of the community, no matter where they stand on abortion, can begin the healing process. There's been enough death in this city," said Newman. "We pray that now Wichita can be known of a place of healing and hope."
Operation Rescue is one of the leading pro-life Christian activist organizations in the nation. Operation Rescue recently made headlines when it bought and closed an abortion clinic in Wichita, Kansas and has become the voice of the pro-life activist movement in America. Its activities are on the cutting edge of the abortion issue, taking direct action to restore legal personhood to the pre-born and stop abortion in obedience to biblical mandates.