When a group of clergy gathered outside of a Cleveland abortion clinic last Thursday, they did something truly surprising: they blessed the facility.

A group of 15 Christian ministers and rabbis came together outside of the Preterm clinic, where they conducted a blessing that was possibly the first-ever of its kind in Ohio, The Plain Dealer reported.

Joined by around 30 clinic staff and past patients, they sang together and offered support for the clinic and the women going in.

The gathering was organized by the Rev. Laura Young of the Ohio Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, a pro-choice group.

Young, a United Methodist Minister, told the Plain Dealer that the gathering was put together ”because too many religious people are hurling shame and hate at women seeking abortion, when we should be offering compassion, care and spiritual healing.”

Others joined in expressing this very sentiment, with the Very Rev. Tracey Lind of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral asking for protection for the clinic.

“Bless this building. May its walls stand strong against the onslaught of shame thrown at it,” she said. “May it be a beacon of hope for those who need its services.”

Young, who said that “clergy cannot remain silent,” is planning similar blessings at the eight additional clinics in the state.

“Women are being attacked at a moral level by the radical Religious Right. They’ve hijacked the political discussion,” she told liberal blog ThinkProgress. “This event is an opportunity for progressive religious leaders to stop the silence. We need to be in the conversation.”

(H/T: Cleveland.com)

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