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Virginia city abandons plan for 'Abortion Provider Appreciation Day' following pushback

Alexandria City Hall
The city hall in Alexandria, Virginia, located just outside Washington, D.C. |

The Washington, D.C., suburb of Alexandria, Virginia, has walked back plans to make this Thursday “Abortion Provider Appreciation Day” following pushback from the local Roman Catholic Diocese.

Mayor Justin Wilson, a Democrat, unveiled a proclamation last week announcing his intention to make this Thursday, March 10, “Abortion Provider Appreciation Day” to “celebrate the courage, compassion, and the high-quality care that abortion providers and clinic staff provide.”

While Alexandria is an overwhelmingly Democratic city where more than 80% of residents who cast a ballot in the 2020 presidential election supported Democratic candidate Joe Biden, the plan to recognize “Abortion Provider Appreciation Day” received intense pushback.

Bishop Michael Burbidge of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Arlington released a statement condemning the proposal to celebrate abortion, which he described as a “direct, violent attack on human life.”

“Proposing a celebration of abortion and an ‘appreciation day’ for those who destroy lives defies comprehension,” he said. “The City of Alexandria should instead do the opposite. It should celebrate all those who save, protect and care for human life. It should re-direct its focus toward recognizing and supporting both mothers and their children, as so many dedicated and compassionate people in Alexandria do each day.”

Burbidge called on Alexandria residents to “express their opposition to this proclamation.” St. Mary’s Basilica in the Old Town neighborhood of Alexandria shared the bishop’s statement on its website and provided a link to a form allowing residents to contact the mayor and members of the City Council. The council was set to consider Wilson’s proclamation at a city council meeting Tuesday. 

The oldest Roman Catholic Church in Virginia gave a list of sample statements residents could include in the form, urging them to “Take a strong stand for life!”

In addition, prominent conservatives living in Alexandria also took issue with the proposed “Abortion Provider Appreciation Day.”

“My Democrat mayor and city council are celebrating people who kill babies,” Mollie Hemingway, the editor-in-chief of The Federalist, tweeted. She described the proclamation as “demonic.” 

Mercedes Schlapp, another Alexandria resident who served as White House Strategic Communications Director under Former President Donald Trump, contended that “Mayor Justin Wilson is trying to divide our country,” insisting that “This action must be stopped.”

In an email obtained by The Daily Wire, Wilson announced that “This proclamation has now been pulled from the agenda at my request.”

“The proclamation you are referring to is part of a national effort, timed to occur 29 years after the date of the murder of an OB-GYN in Florida, who was murdered for providing legal and safe healthcare services,” Wilson said. 

Wilson began the proclamation last week by noting that March 10 marked the 29th anniversary of the murder of an abortion doctor “by a white supremacist anti-abortion extremist.” That doctor's name was David Gunn, who was murdered by Michael Frederick Griffin in Pensacola, Florida, in 1993. 

The current docket for Tuesday’s city council meeting features a list of proclamations that the legislative body will consider. Item No. 7 on the agenda, which formerly included the “Abortion Provider Appreciation Day” proposal reads: “This item has been removed from the docket.” 

Schlapp responded to the development in a tweet Friday.

“Praise God,” she tweeted. “It’s why it’s so important to speak up against the Left pushing a radical agenda even at the local levels.”

In his proclomation last week, Wilson touted abortion as necessary “reproductive healthcare” that “must be accessible for people to make real decisions about their bodies, lives, and futures.”

He lamented the “recent restrictions in some states” that “have forced many family planning clinics to shut down” as well as the “recent gutting of the Title X program” that has “further threatened access to abortion referrals and reproductive services and care.”

The mayor also expressed concern about the fact that “the United States Supreme Court now contains a majority of Justices who may not interpret the Constitution to provide protection for the right to end a pregnancy and may overturn or severely limit Roe v. Wade in 2022,” referring to the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide.

He decried the “threat to women’s reproductive rights” posed by the possible partial or complete reversal of Roe as “a threat to women’s reproductive rights” and “therefore a threat to basic human rights.”

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: ryan.foley@christianpost.com

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