Prayer vigil doubles as anti-abortion demonstration
Eight anti-abortion demonstrators converged in front of Glenwood Medical Associates Friday to express their views on the controversial issue.”We are more of an ad hoc group of members of St. Stephen’s Church (located across from GMA). We are calling this a prayer vigil,” said Katrina Jimenez, a Glenwood Springs mother of two. “We just know there’s an abortion doctor in there and he hides behind a legitimate medical profession. We’re not trying to target him.”The demonstrators said little but communicated their pro-life opinions with hand-made signs asking the doctor to “stop killing babies.” Executive physician Dr. Paul Salmen issued a statement from the GMA physicians, saying the medical facility’s practices are not only legal and federally approved, but warranted.”For more than 50 years, Glenwood Medical Associates has been the most trusted source of primary health care for the men, women and children of the Roaring Fork Valley,” the statement said. “We have always sought to provide our community the best choices for medically proven and FDA-approved medical treatments and procedures. We know that our patients want us to continue to do so within the framework of trust and complete patient confidentiality.”Jimenez, and two additional protesters who remained after the others left, said they plan to rally during the next three Friday afternoons for Lent, a season of fasting and penitence observed by Christians before Easter.”We don’t consider ourselves fanatics. We see ourselves as completely rational in what the Gospel is calling us to do. We don’t get our kicks out of doing this, we just feel we have to,” Jimenez said. Christin Sercel, also a member of St. Stephen’s, said her concern for children motivated her to participate in Friday’s demonstration.”The reason I’m here is because of the children killed by abortion who don’t have the ability to speak for themselves,” she said. “Somebody has to speak for them.”In an interview, Salmen said GMA’s role in promoting women’s health initiatives throughout the valley is of utmost importance to every doctor employed in the group.”All of our physicians know about and support all of our practices,” he said. “We serve a wide range of women’s health needs, and we stand by our professionalism and confidentiality. Today we served hundreds of patients with the flu, cancer, diabetes, and women’s health issues, to name a few. All of us work together to coordinate women’s health issues.”Salmen said the prayer vigil had the potential to cause more harm than good.”This is such a wedge issue in our community,” he said. “This unfortunate minor protest places one more barrier for women in finding the health care they need.”Glenwood Medical Associates administrator Timothy Burns agreed.”This is an issue than can divide a community,” Burns said. “Our objective is to provide many different services to people, which we’ve been doing for 50 years in this valley.”Contact April E. Clark: 945-8515, ext. firstname.lastname@example.org
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