Medical profession participates in 40 Days for Life
By MICHELLE DELANEY, Globe staff reporter
For several weeks, pro-life advocates have been standing day and night in front of Planned Parenthood’s Sioux City office as a part of the annual 40 Days for Life Campaign.
Along with numerous other volunteers, several nurses and doctors, retired and current, can be found aiding in the 40 Days for Life cause.
Mercy Medical Center’s director of mission services and ethics, Jim Spencer, has extended the invitation to the nurses, doctors and staff at the hospital to pray outside Planned Parenthood.
“Life is a great gift and we want to make sure that we support issues that respect life,” said Spencer. “We’re a hospital, we’re here to save lives and be supportive. We’re very compassionate at end of life care as well as respecting the beginning of life and all throughout life. “
Every Tuesday, Mercy Medical Center has reserved times in which their employees can show their support for life. Regina Ratino, a member of the spiritual committee at Trinity Heights and a 40 Days for Life volunteer, noted that many doctors, nurses and other staff have signed up for other days, as well.
“I think it is very important for retired and currently practicing doctors and nurses to support the pro-life cause because it affirms the tenets of their profession, that is, to ‘Do No Harm,’” said Ratino. “It is certainly a plague in our society and upon the medical professional to have fellow colleagues misuse their training for the death and destruction of other human beings.”
She went on to commend Mercy for joining the 40 Days campaign and, throughout the hospital and community, drawing more awareness to the life-saving campaign. Encouraging employees and staff to join in the prayerful witness solidifies Mercy’s history of promoting the culture of life.
“It is the hope that, by having doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers standing outside the walls of Planned Parenthood, that no one will have to feel that abortion is the only option,” said Ratino. “They are there to show they care, that they believe in the sanctity of each and every human life and that they will do everything they can to preserve both the life of the mother and the child,”
Joanna Wolpert, a former nurse at Mercy, has volunteered her time to pray in front of Planned Parenthood for many reasons.
“As a former neonatal intensive care nurse, I’ve take care of many small, small babies and seen those babies live and to go on to have a normal life. The size of the babies that they’re aborting today and that’s so wrong,” said Wolpert. “If we can even change one person’s mind, save one person’s life, it’ll be worth it.”
Dr. Richard Ratino, an obstetrics and gynecology doctor and 40 Days for Life supporter, explained how every baby that he delivers is a great and wonderful gift of God.
“As a medical person, I definitely know that life begins at conception and that they are definitely murdering and killing innocent babies that deserve to come into this world to serve God,” said Dr. Ratino.
Dr. John Wolpert believes that it’s particularly important for the medical community to support the pro-life cause and to show leadership. He stated that if the medical profession stands strong against abortion he believes that it will help focus society to follow the correct path.
40 Days for Life began on Sept. 26 and will go through Nov. 4.
The peaceful around-the-clock vigil is held throughout the world and since 2007 has saved over 2,800 babies. This year, the campaign is being held in about 320 locations, 11 of which are held in Iowa.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision that resulted in the legalization of abortion in the nation.
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