EASTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – The Diocese of Springfield has released a statement following an act of vandalism Thursday at the Bethlehem House in Easthampton.
Spokesperson Mark Dupont of the Diocese of Springfield sent 22News images of vandalism at the ministry that occurred overnight. Photos shared show spray-paint on the sidewalk that read “If abortion isn’t safe, neither are you.” There was also red spray-paint on outdoor seats and red paint thrown on the side of the building.
Easthampton Police Lt. Dennis Scribner told 22News say they are investigating the vandalism but no other information is available at this time.
Easthampton is in the process of debating if pregnancy crisis centers should be banned. Opponents say they can be misleading to women looking to seek out an abortion.
John Bates is a Grand Knight with the Easthampton Knights of Columbus, which has contributed to Bethlehem House. He said regardless of where you stand on the issue, acts like these are not the answer, “You want to take one side of the issue or the other, you do it at the polls. You do it peacefully. You hold up a sign, you stand out on the street. Trespassing and vandalizing private property does not further your message.”
“I was very sad to hear that vandals targeted Bethlehem House last night. The messages spray painted on the outside of the building appear to have one purpose and that is to intimidate the good people who depend on the assistance provided there, along with those who volunteer at Bethlehem House whose sole purpose is to help women and their families facing a crisis pregnancy.”
“No matter where you stand on the issue of abortion, I pray all people of goodwill will join me in condemning this act and all acts of vandalism and violence against any group. We are a people of life called to lead with love. That’s what we will continue to do. Please join me in praying for all affected by this incident.”Bishop William Byrne, Diocese of Springfield
A spokesperson for the Diocese said they plan to hold a prayer event here sometime this week.
The Bethlehem House is run by volunteers and provides women and their families facing a crisis pregnancy free diapers, wipes, baby clothes, strollers, pack-and-plays, car seats and strollers. The pro-life ministry also offers free pregnancy resources such as referrals for employment, health care and educational services. The Bethlehem House assists families until the baby is 18 months old.