Abortion has remained a hot-button issue in the United States. As organizations like Planned Parenthood continue to establish themselves, the divide between pro-life and pro-choice supporters deepen.
In May 2013, Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast prepared to set up a new 7,000-square-foot location in New Orleans costing $4.2 million. Although the clinic was not scheduled to open until 2014, hundreds of supporters and protesters voiced their opinions from neutral ground across the street. At the time, the clinic was poised to be the first to offer abortions in Louisiana.
Supporters of the project pointed to rising rates of sexually transmitted diseases and teen pregnancy, as well as a lack of access to women’s healthcare and abortion services as reasons why the clinic was necessary. Protesters condemned the Planned Parenthood clinic as an “abortion super center,” according to reporting from The Advocate, saying that abortion was comparable to murder.
Although the controversy surrounding the New Orleans clinic involved upwards of 600 hundred protesters and supporters and could be considered to a large-scale demonstration, other clinic locations around the country are often met with protests on smaller-scales. The Planned Parenthood Clinic located on Brinkerhoff Street in Plattsburgh is no exception.
Unlike some other Planned Parenthood locations, the Plattsburgh clinic does perform abortions. On any given day, it is commonplace to see people standing on the sidewalk outside the clinic holding signs condemning abortion, and others praying with rosary beads entwined in their fingers.
The NOLA Needs Peace Coalition, founded in May 2013 to oppose the clinic, is known for distributing yard signs, purchasing television advertisements and building billboards that read “More Planned Parenthood = More Abortions,” in states throughout the U.S.
A representative for the Plattsburgh clinic could not be reached for comment.
Though some believe that Planned Parenthood is a negative influence, others believe that it is a necessary establishment in the community.
According to its website, abortions make up only 3 percent of the procedures done by Planned Parenthood annually.
Other services like birth control, STD testing and counseling are available at the clinics. Tess Baker, who became President and CEO of Planned Parenthood North Country on Jan. 1, 2015, now heads an organization that serves 13,000 people throughout six counties in upstate New York.
According to the company’s mission statement, their primary focus is to protect the reproductive rights of individuals and provide comprehensive healthcare, not simply perform abortions. In a Planned Parenthood press release announcing her appointment, Baker said it was an “honor to lead an organization that does so much for women and families in our communities.”
PSUC Junior Kaitlyn Kessler, who grew up as the only daughter in her family, believes the Planned Parenthood clinic in Plattsburgh is a “resource that people don’t use as often as they should.”
Kessler has utilized Planned Parenthood before for birth control and said the clinic is “a valuable resource for the community.”
Email Thomas Marble at firstname.lastname@example.org.