As of Thursday, volunteers will escort abortion patients at heavily protested New York City clinics, as part of a new City Council-backed program dubbed the “Clinic Protection Project.”
Plans for the new program were announced on October 19, when Speaker Christine Quinn said the move was in response to increased protests by anti-abortion activists.
“Dangerous rhetoric and disturbing protests outside reproductive health clinics have become increasingly divisive and disruptive to families who are trying to get health care,” Quinn said.
“If you can’t get in the building where the health care is being offered, you do not actually have access to that health care.”
Merle Hoffman, the CEO of Choices Women’s Medical Center, told WNYC that the scene outside the clinic in Jamaica, Queens can be intimidating.
“Going to the doctor has become a military maneuver,” Hoffman said. “The protestors — I call them bullies — yell and scream at women, as they come into the facility.”
As part of the new program, volunteers will escort patients past pro-life protestors at abortion facilities from November 1.
Chris Slattery, the head of Expectant Mother Care (EMC), a group of pro pregnancy centers, accused Quinn of using the issue as a political ploy.
"Police, when they know that the government leaders are organizing these things, they're then intimidated to favor the government project over us because they don't want to get in trouble with the mayor's office and City Hall," Slattery told OneNewsNow.
Quinn said the effort will not be funded by the City Council.