Church, Planned Parenthood Make Uneasy Neighbors | The Daily Pulp | South Florida | Broward Palm Beach New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Broward-Palm Beach, Florida

Palm Beach News

Church, Planned Parenthood Make Uneasy Neighbors

For three years, Pastor Mark Jones of the New Life Pentecostal Church in Greenacres has tolerated an unconventional neighbor. While his flock prays, employees on the other side of the duplex are giving HIV tests and passing out condoms and the morning-after pill.

Planned Parenthood, the nonprofit group that's best-known for providing abortion services, shares a building and a parking lot with the church on Lake Worth Road.

Jones isn't thrilled with the arrangement, but he takes comfort in the fact that this

[jump]

particular Planned Parenthood doesn't offer surgical abortions, although it does dispense the abortion pill. Plus, it's not open on Sundays.

"I don't have any relationship with them at all," he says. "I don't speak to them."
 
Judith Selzer, VP of public policy for Planned Parenthood's South Florida branch, says she's not aware of any conflicts between the health office and the church -- although they're not exactly buddies.

"We've worked with a lot of churches over the years," she says. "But I can't say we've worked with that one."

Turns out, Jones has been coveting the space occupied by his neighbors and would like to buy the entire building if it goes up for sale. "We want the whole block," he explains.

He was hoping the center would be shut down because of budget cuts during the lean George W. Bush years. But since the doors are still open, he's doing his best to close them through divine intervention.

"We want to pray them out of there," he says.

KEEP NEW TIMES BROWARD-PALM BEACH FREE... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Lisa Rab
Contact: Lisa Rab