Because of you, Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood’s staff continues to provide amazing care to the thousands of patients who need it. We can’t do it without you!
Starting in 1986, anti-choice protesters began to regularly picket at UHPP’s health centers. UHPP established a group of patient escorts – volunteers who escorted patients from the parking lot into the health center.
You might remember the destructive pickets at UHPP’s Albany and Greenport health centers. I’d just started working for UHPP, and I’ll never forget it. Planned Parenthoods across the nation experienced a wave of unprecedented hatred and violence that threatened our patients, volunteers and staff.
In May 1988, a young man threw bricks into the Lark Street health center, breaking four glass doors and several windows.
In December 1988, 250 protesters blocked the entrance of UHPP’s Greenport health center. At any sign that they might be challenged, they moved closer to the health center’s doors. A small group of UHPP staff and patient escorts stood firm. After 7 hours, the protest finally ended.
In March 1989, more than 200 protesters blockaded UHPP’s Lark Street health center for 8 ½ hours. Some staff was locked inside, while other staff and patients were prevented from entering. By going limp and refusing to move, 145 protesters forced police officers to arrest them and drag them away. It took hours for staff to remove the chains from the health center and get the superglue out of the locks.
In 1993 and 1994, Planned Parenthoods around the nation took another hard look at security after five staff and volunteers were murdered at abortion clinics in Massachusetts and Florida. It still takes courage, commitment and conviction to stay the course.
Frightening threats continue at many Planned Parenthoods. In spite of this, UHPP’s patients continue to turn to us for care. They set aside fear, put their health first, and trust our staff and volunteers to help them access critical, lifesaving healthcare.
Over the years, you’ve passionately responded to many crises as donors, advocates and volunteers. Some of you continue to volunteer to ensure our patients’ safety. Thank you for making sure that Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood stays open for all the patients who count on us for care!
Patient safety and security was a major motivator for UHPP moving the Albany health center to Central Avenue. Here patients receive confidential services on private property, where picketers may not trespass. Thanks to your support, UHPP continues to invest in improved safety and security inside and outside of our Albany, Hudson and Troy health centers.
It’s easy to see why physical threats and violence inspire us to get angry and take action. Today, Planned Parenthood’s nationwide opposition uses other tactics that are just as destructive. From bricks to bomb threats, disappearing buffer zones protecting patients from protesters, bills that threaten to shut Planned Parenthood down, and misleading videos intended to entrap and defame our staff and our work – all of it hurts each of us.
I know these threats are upsetting. Hopefully they also resolve your will to stay in the fight. If history teaches us anything, it’s that we can never let our guard down.
Today, I ask you once again to be our patients’ hero. Please give as generously as you can for the young women who need Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood. I promise to continue to fight for our patients and for you as you have fought for us!
Amy M. Whitman
Purchasing Director/Security Coordinator