The Pro-Life Union of Greater Philadelphia organized National Protest Planned Parenthood Day for those in the Greater Philadelphia region on Wednesday, April 3 at 6:30 p.m. outside Planned Parenthood at 12th & Locust Streets. Sue Thayer, former Planned Parenthood center manager who now serves as 40 Days for Life Outreach Director, provided shocking insights about Planned Parenthood, why she left her job at the abortion clinic, why she decided to become pro-life, and what inspired her to get involved in 40 Days for Life.
The event opened up in song, praising God for His love and gift of life. Then Marlene Downing from Project HOPE addressed the crowd to share her personal testimony. After having two abortions and raising two children, she grew closer to God, realizing that life begins at conception. She explained three revelations she had during a conversation with God: He forgives us, heaven is real and beautiful, and we’ll have glorified bodies. Marlene understood that the purity of an unborn soul is just as divine as Christ, and that her aborted children will greet her in heaven. They forgive because they haven’t learned to live in a world of unforgiveness. Soon after her conversation with God, she was offered a position at HOPE Pregnancy Center and now advocates for lives of the unborn. Click here to watch the video of her testimony at this event.
Next, Tom Stevens, President and CEO of the Pro-Life Union of Greater Philadelphia, welcomed the crowd. He asked them to repeat after him: “I will hope, I will love, I will serve.” Tom also provided the alarming statistic that two million unborn babies have been aborted since Roe v. Wade. He emphasized that abortion has to stop; in order to accomplish this goal, we must present hope and love to these women and families. There are five million people in Greater Philadelphia area; half of them align with the pro-life stance. Imagine how our region could change for a culture of life if those 2.5 million people made a commitment to serve women. Tom also mentioned that abortion is the leading cause of death; in fact, there are over 900,000 abortions performed each year. The second leading cause of death is heart disease, which kills about 600,000 people a year. Cancer is the third leading cause of death with approximately 575,000 individuals. Sadly, 64% of women who have experienced abortions felt coerced in some way. Tom encouraged that we have to find a way to explain to women there are alternatives! Planned Parenthood alone aborts over 330,000 abortions per year. Chemical abortion pills account for 30% of abortions. The Pro-Life Union of Greater Philadelphia needs your help; please recruit others (more information can be found at prolifeunion.org/volunteer).
Sue Thayer visited from northwest Iowa to speak to guests at Philadelphia’s Protest Planned Parenthood Day. When she first applied for a job at Planned Parenthood, the manager asked in an interview what Sue thought of surgical services. The manager explained that they did surgical abortions at certain clinics in Iowa. Sue responded with her belief that abortion is murder; the Planned Parenthood manager reacted that it wasn’t murder if the fetus isn’t viable. Based on Sue’s answer, she thought she wouldn’t get the job, but Planned Parenthood called and offered her a job position.
She became a center manager in a short amount of time, and during this role, she became exposed to the sight of surgical abortions. Sue recalled an instance of what it was like to have a surgical abortion. The doctor didn’t even introduce himself; he just began the surgical abortion. The noise of the suction machine is very distinctive. Then the pieces of an unborn baby are placed in a jar. One time Sue saw three arms in one jar and asked a co-worker, “Why are there three arms?” The fellow Planned Parenthood worker replied, “Oh it was twins.” Sue asked if Planned Parenthood told the mother that they aborted twins. The co-worker said no because it just upsets them.
Sue eventually became a sexuality educator by Planned Parenthood to talk about birth control, STDs and other matters. She would encourage young people to come to Planned Parenthood if they had any questions to avoid pregnancy. Years into her work at Planned Parenthood, Sue did some self-reflection to ask if she should keep doing this as her profession. One day she discovered Christian radio in Iowa; what she heard touched her heart, and after listening to God’s Word, she felt like her work at Planned Parenthood was wrong.
Sue’s life transformed when Planned Parenthood introduced web cam abortions. Because a lot of bleeding and hemorrhaging happens after taking the abortion pills at home, most women typically end up going to the hospital emergency room. As another option, Planned Parenthood offered the opportunity for women to take the abortion pill in their office during a scheduled 45-minute appointment. Instead of having a physician or nurse practitioner on site, a doctor was available via web cam from another clinic to authorize the abortion pill. First they offered a pregnancy test, then said if the woman wanted to get an abortion, they could begin the process with the abortion pill. Non-medical staff were also trained to conduct trans vaginal ultrasounds, which are invasive in order to find small unborn babies. Once web cam abortions were introduced in Iowa, a GE delivery man brought ultrasound machines for these trans vaginal ultrasounds. He was excited to show the machines’ capabilities and how early you can see a baby, but then realized where he was, and said, “You probably won’t use this to print a picture of the baby, will you?”
Sue continued to say that Planned Parenthood’s mission isn’t about choice; it’s about selling their product. Planned Parenthood would even turn the volume down on these ultrasound machines so the mothers can’t hear their babies’ heartbeats. She decided enough is enough, and called Iowa Christian Radio and also connected with Iowa’s Right to Life to tell the truth about Planned Parenthood. Because she chose to tell the truth about Planned Parenthood and connected with Iowa’s Right to Life, Sue was fired. She then encountered a group of 5-6 Christian people in Iowa who asked how to stop Planned Parenthood from their actions. Sue knew Planned Parenthood hated 40 Days for Life; they actually referred to it as “40 Days of Torture” and “40 Days of Hell.” She decided to sign up and lead a campaign for 12 hours per day outside a larger Planned Parenthood clinic from 6am-6pm because a representative from 40 Days for Life asked, “Why would you limit God?” Sue began asking people if they could pray for an hour, but was terrified she would run into former co-workers; they did have a few choice words for Sue while participating in the 40 Days for Life campaign. 40 Days for Life discovered that she used to work at a Planned Parenthood; at that point in time, no one who had ties with a Planned Parenthood had ever decided to lead a 40 Days for Life campaign. Sue was asked to do an interview to discuss her experience in rural Iowa. After this interview, she learned that the Planned Parenthood clinic she used to work at had closed.
Since 40 Days for Life campaigns began, 99 abortion facilities have closed. Your prayers do make a big difference. Shawn Carney, President and CEO of 40 Days for Life, called Sue asking if she wanted to work for the organization. God can save anybody; Sue is proof that hearts can be transformed. She mentioned that while working at Planned Parenthood, employees had a goal where they were required to refer a certain number of women to abortion. Abortion is Planned Parenthood’s biggest money maker. Workers would ask women who couldn’t afford a pregnancy test, “Well if you can’t afford a pregnancy test, how are you going to afford other items like diapers and clothing? Do you know how much it costs to raise a child? How about we take care of this by filling out paperwork and getting this done for you?” If they hit their goal of abortion referrals, Planned Parenthood workers would be rewarded with a pizza party.
The perception of pro-lifers is that we are pro-birth, no matter what kind of condition unborn babies are living in. Some believe pro-lifers only care that the babies survive, but don’t care what happens after they’re given life. For example, an angry protester encountered people witnessing at a 40 Days for Life campaign and asked if any one of them would adopt a drug-addicted baby. Even though others believe we may not care about the human life after he or she is born, we know there are alternatives; we just need to keep educating women about these alternatives (adoption, maternity housing, crisis pregnancy centers, etc.).
Sue has had women come up to her saying “Do you remember me? I almost had an abortion, but you convinced me not to.” She has also had women come up to her asking, “Do you remember me? You helped me to have an abortion.” Sue would tearfully cry with the woman who expressed that sentiment. But, she never had a woman who said, “Do you remember me? This is my child. I chose life, but wish I had an abortion.” Click here to view the video of her talk at this event.
The evening closed with Monique Ruberu talking about Philadelphia’s 40 Days for Life campaign, as well as the Sidewalk Servants outreach program, which motivates individuals to continue witnessing outside abortion clinics all year long. Philadelphia’s National Protest Planned Parenthood Day concluded with prayer and song.