PLANNED PARENTHOOD MID-HUDSON VALLEY
In 1934, the Dutchess County Maternal Welfare League was formed for the express purpose of starting a birth control clinic. Risking social rejection, legal penalties and even arrest, four courageous women recruited physicians and raised funds to open the first clinic in this region on Mill Street in the City of Poughkeepsie. Volunteers counseled clients and assisted doctors who donated their time.
In the late 1930s, the cause for safe and accessible family planning services gained strength in Orange County. In 1936 a group of Newburgh physicians organized the Mother’s Health Center to assist women who were in desperate need of help with family planning. Volunteers ran the clinic located on Broadway between Liberty and Chambers Streets. Because of federal Comstock laws, which made it illegal to educate women about birth control, most clients were reached through word-of-mouth or physician referrals. In 1942, a Planned Parenthood clinic opened in Kingston, with one of the first women physicians in the area volunteering her time.
Growth of services continued on both sides of the Hudson River and in 1976 Planned Parenthood of Orange-Sullivan Counties and Planned Parenthood of Dutchess-Ulster Counties were formed.
In 1996, Planned Parenthood of Dutchess-Ulster and Planned Parenthood of Orange-Sullivan merged to become Planned Parenthood of the Mid-Hudson Valley (PPMHV), serving the four counties of Dutchess, Orange, Sullivan and Ulster.
Today, PPMHV is one of more than 50 Planned Parenthood affiliates throughout the country.