An article in Wednesday’s Albany Times-Union carried the deceptive title "35 years pass, but not debate: Demonstrations mark 1973 high court ruling affirming right to abortion." Instead of covering any of the various pro-life or pro-choice demonstrations over the past few days, the Times-Union spent the bulk of article discussing a ceremony at a new Planned Parenthood facility in Albany where local clergy "blessed" the clinic. Only two sentences mentioned that "Capital Region activists joined voices with their counterparts nationwide to mark the day" and that the annual March for Life was being held in Washington, DC.
The article, written by Times-Union staff writer Carol DeMare, quoted several "pro-choice" clergy who took part in the "blessing" ceremony. Rev. Larry Phillips of Schenectady, New York's Emmanuel-Friedens Church described the new Planned Parenthood center as "sacred and holy ... where women's voices and stories are welcomed, valued and affirmed; sacred ground where women are treated with dignity, supported in their role as moral decision-makers ... sacred ground where the violent voices of hatred and oppression are quelled."
Another pastor, the Rev. Bill Levering, also from a Schenectady church, coated pro-choice language in quasi-religious terms. "There are some decisions that are left to the individual. Even God respects the right of privacy. We make women into children when we say they cannot control their own bodies."
A Jewish rabbi blew the shofar during the half-hour ceremony, and declared its sound represented "a renewal of commitment to keep reproductive rights in the hands of women."
The article only quoted one critic of this ceremony, Kathleen Gallagher of the New York State Catholic Conference. She called the blessing "hypocritical" and pointed out that "abortion proponents have been saying this is not a religious issue, you should keep religion out of this, and now all of a sudden they turn around and decide to bless an abortion clinic to gain respect for a procedure everybody knows is not worthy of respect."
Besides the various "pro-choice" clergy, the Times-Union article cited Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Linda Scharf a total of five times.