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DETROIT (ChurchMilitant.com) - Pro-lifers holding vigil at a Detroit-area abortion mill see a faith-based homeless shelter bringing a young girl to an abortion mill.
On Friday, at least four pro-life sidewalk counselors were shocked to see a Covenant House transport van pull up directly in front of them while they were holding vigil at Summit Medical Centers, an abortion mill in Detroit.
Once a Catholic organization, Covenant House claims to help homeless young people escape from human trafficking.
Church Militant spoke with two of the pro-lifers present at Summit. Both wanted to remain anonymous out of fear the abortion mill would use their information to target them.
The first was a woman with 17 years of experience in sidewalk counseling. She confirmed the van stopped directly in front of her and she took the picture of the van. She said the reflection of the abortion mill's green awning can be seen in the window.
She would have taken a better photo but instead attempted to talk with the woman as she got out of the van. She said she was "very young and very, very lethargic," adding, "Her expression was very dull."
Sidewalk counselors are aware that women are sometimes given sedatives prior to an abortion, especially if they are very upset about it. They are also warned about pro-life counselors in advance.
The woman responded to her offers of help and support by saying, "It's just a follow-up."
"I have it in my mind, for somebody to reply that was almost like she was told to say that," the sidewalk counselor said.
The second sidewalk counselor also talked with the woman going into the clinic just as she reached the door. He has 10 years of experience and said, "All indications were that she was going in for more than that."
He said he has talked to hundreds of "abortion-minded women" and if it were just a follow-up, she would have said so and just entered.
"She started at me with the door open like she was trying to weigh what I was offering her," he explained. "Her entire appearance showed interest in what I was saying."
She ended up not saying anything to him and went in. While he was there, another colleague and the driver of the van approached. He heard the driver say as she walked up to the door, "I'm just doing my job."
He confirmed that Friday was the day Summit provided medical abortions. He said the follow-up for those is typically one to three days later — on Saturday or Monday — but also acknowledged surgical abortions happened about four days a week.
He also said there were a large number of women in the clinic waiting for the doctor. Out of the 15 business cards for their pro-life help center, he only had one left.
"Not all the girls took one," he added.
Both of the sidewalk counselors were at the abortion mill for another 30 minutes but left before the woman came out. The man explained that the abortionist, Reginald Sharpe, had not arrived at Summit before he left at 10:35.
Church Militant also spoke with Lynn Mills, the founder of Pro-Life Michigan. Mills said the notorious trunk abortionist, Michael Arthur Roth, sometimes operated out of this abortion mill.
"This is scandal all day long," she said.
She explained that anyone with a pro-life ethic would never go to an abortion mill for health care, "not even for a hangnail."
In 2016, Mills and Citizens for a Pro-Life Society had nearly gotten Summit closed down. Mills discovered that Summit was operating illegally because they were not incorporated by a licensed physician. Mills was able to name a number of open formal complaints against the staff of Summit.
Summit performs abortions up to 24 weeks of pregnancy, and the sidewalk counselors noted that the majority of them are performed by Reginald Sharpe, an abortionist with a long history of botched abortions.
Sharpe has been disciplined numerous times. Most recently, in 2016, Sharpe was placed on probation and forced to pay $15,000 in fines and take two classes after five botched abortions including one death from a punctured uterus.
Mills also explained if Covenant House did take the woman for an abortion, they would be co-conspirators with the criminals that would cover-up impregnating the girl.
"Who is abortion a friend to? The criminal." Mills said.
Covenant House was founded by a Franciscan priest, Fr. Bruce Ritter, as a ministry to help serve New York's poor youth in 1969. The organization grew and expanded to other cities, maintaining leadership by Catholic religious until 2008.
In 1990, five men claimed to have been in a sexual relationship with Fr. Ritter. At the same time, the Manhattan district attorney's office began investigating Covenant House for financial irregularities and false documentation. Father Ritter denied the allegations but resigned "in the best interests of Covenant House." The following day, the Manhattan DA closed the investigation and announced they would not file charges.
Covenant House International responded to Mills' inquiry by saying, "To be unequivocally clear, Covenant House Michigan does not counsel young women to receive abortions not facilitate abortion on their behalf."
They now claim to be a "faith-based" group that follows Catholic teaching on the sanctity of life. They added:
We understand that a photograph of our van was taken on the street where Summit Medical Group [sic] is located and then shared on social media. Because we consider it our top priority to respect and safeguard the human dignity and personal sanctuary of our young people, we will not comment on personal information medical or otherwise, received by the young people in our care. But that said, it is our clear, long-standing policy and practice to respect the dignity of every human life.
Mills noted that Covenant House International incorrectly stated the name of the facility as Summit Medical Group, a health care group that provides medical care to the youth at the Covenant House.
All of the sources wanted Covenant House leaders to be held accountable for the scandal. They all are aware of the good work the organization does to help young people out of abusive situations.
"I want them to take a firm stand against abortion and ensure this never happens again," Mills said.
Church Militant reached out to Covenant House International and Covenant House Michigan but have not heard back by press time.