New York clinic defenders block anti-abortion bigots

SLL photo: Melinda Butterfield

On Sept. 3, abortion rights activists mobilized to counter a monthly protest of the Planned Parenthood Manhattan Health Center by anti-abortion forces. In August, the New York Police Department had attacked the clinic defenders, arresting five. New York City for Abortion Rights organizes the monthly clinic defense. 

The anti-abortion group Witness for Life is based at the nearby Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral on the Lower East Side. Clinic defenders began the day with a picket outside the church, then dispatched activists to provide support to Planned Parenthood escorts at the clinic and blockade nearby intersections to intercept roving gangs of anti-woman bigots.

Outside the clinic, dozens of abortion rights defenders held rainbow umbrellas and a banner that said “Your body, your choice” to block the chanting anti-abortionists.

All attempts to invade the clinic or stop patients from entering were successfully blocked. One entering patient aptly gave the middle finger to the bigots.

Comically, one of the anti-abortion goons wore a red MAGA hat and walked outside the clinic chanting, “Make America great again.” His cohorts made him change his hat and change his chant halfway through their stunt since it too clearly exposed their far-right allegiances.

Provocations continued after the “pro-life” group left the clinic. When abortion rights supporters held a wrap-up rally outside the church, a driver attempted to assault them with their vehicle. Then bigots threw eggs from the roof of a building across the street; they only succeeded in egging the SUV of one of their supporters.

Naturally, the NYPD was nowhere to be seen when these attacks on abortion rights activists took place.

The Supreme Court coup that overturned Roe v. Wade has emboldened the ultra-right against the rights of women, trans people, people of color, and all workers. Even in a pro-choice, “blue” state like New York, the fascists are trying to advance. 

The clinic defenders – multigenerational, people of color and white, queer and trans – show that only the workers and oppressed will stop their advance, not the cops or politicians.

For info on upcoming clinic defense actions, follow NYC for Abortion Rights on Twitter.

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