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Haunted House Depicts Woman Sent to Hell for Having Abortion

October 30, 1991

DENNIS, Mass. (AP) _ A church-sponsored Halloween haunted house has raised an outcry because of its portrayal of a woman being sent to hell for having an abortion.

A community group that was to receive profits from the week-long exhibit in the Cape Cod town of Dennis voted Tuesday to refuse the money.

Inside the haunted house, an actress in a bloody nightgown writhes on a stretcher, screaming, ″I want my baby. I want my baby. Where’s my baby?″ Another actor, dressed as a physician, hands the woman a handful of simulated blood and tissue, shouting: ″Here’s your baby.″

The display was put on by the Victory Chapel Christian Fellowship Church, which also has proselytized by inviting summer visitors to rock concerts at which they tell them about the gospel.

It opened Friday and is scheduled to continue through midnight Halloween. The church is housed in a warehouse, and the exhibit is adjacent to the sanctuary.

Visitors under age 13 are not admitted unless with an adult. At least one teen-age girl was so shaken by a visit Saturday that she asked to leave, the Cape Cod Times reported.

″Evidently, a couple of folks who went in there got upset,″ said church pastor Paul Campo, who planned the exhibit. ″We did it so it was scary, we did it so it was a real-life thing. The message is that you have to be responsible for your actions.″

The controversy is drawing larger crowds than organizers had expected, he said, with an estimated 700 tickets sold by Tuesday.

After a debate, the Cape Cod Child Development Program Inc. voted not to accept proceeds from the exhibit. ″We didn’t want to appear to be endorsing their religious beliefs or any church’s religious beliefs,″ said executive director Philip Sheerin.

Sheerin said he had no idea the display was to have an abortion message.

The day after visiting the exhibit, Amy McGillen joined the growing ranks of protesters picketing outside.

″What offended me the most was there was absolutely no warning that this was going to be coming up,″ McGillen said. ″You go in there and are taken through a haunted house, and then suddenly you’re pushed into hell and have to stand and listen and watch this propaganda about abortion.″

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