Analysis

New York town denies Planned Parenthood a permit to open a facility

planned parenthood

UPDATE, 08/15/22: Planned Parenthood has announced a lawsuit against the town of Henrietta for denying the abortion chain a special use permit application. Michelle Casey, president of Planned Parenthood of Central and Western New York, complained that negative feedback from residents influenced the board’s decision.

“Parking and ambulances and things that did not apply , people from outside Henrietta who came to protest us being there but really this should have been based on a land use decision,” she said. “We’ve asked the court to hear our case as soon as possible because we can’t see all the patients we would like to see in our smaller Brighton location than we would see in a bigger Henrietta location.”

Henrietta Town Supervisor Steve Schultz voted in favor of the application, and said he believes Planned Parenthood met all the criteria for the application to be approved. But Schultz was outvoted, 3-2, against the permit.

A court date regarding the lawsuit has not been scheduled.

06/25/22: Planned Parenthood doesn’t make for a good neighbor, according to the residents of Henrietta, New York. Upon hearing that Planned Parenthood wanted to open an abortion facility in their town, residents caused such an uproar that the town board denied Planned Parenthood’s application.

People immediately began protesting at the Henrietta Town Hall when they learned the nation’s largest abortion chain had filed a zoning request. “This is an issue that goes beyond Henrietta,” resident Dorothy Hayes, said. “Planned Parenthood is the hub for central, western New York – they affect all the neighborhoods they get into.” Another resident, Barbara Sieber, added, “It’s just the amount of death, but it also concerns me that they are looking at university campuses. They are taking advantage of people who do not understand the consequences of sex.”

Still another, Julie Rohn, also spoke out. “Just morally, I’m against it and I think citizens of the community have a right to say ‘No, we don’t believe in that in this community’ and not support businesses we don’t like,” she said.

Officials then held a Town Board meeting, where they told residents they were voting on a zoning issue, and not necessarily weighing in on whether or not abortion should be legal. Still, the application was denied in a 3-2 vote.

READ: New York leaders launch ‘unjust investigation’ into pregnancy center instead of its attackers

Afterwards, Planned Parenthood of Central and Western New York President and CEO Michelle Casey released a statement criticizing the decision. “The decision issued by the Henrietta Town Board last night is deeply disappointing. Planned Parenthood of Central and Western New York believes that all people should have the power to determine the course of their own life, and we are committed to providing the communities we serve with a full range of high-quality sexual and reproductive health services and education,” she said.

“We will continue to provide the expert care and resources our patients have come to rely on out of our Brighton Health Center, and will be expanding services in Brighton/Henrietta. All people — no matter where they live — deserve the right to control their own body and future.”

This is far from the first time the residents of a town have fought back against Planned Parenthood’s efforts to open an abortion facility. In places like Visalia, California, and Casper, Wyoming, residents were horrified to learn that an abortion business would be opened in their town, and did what they could to stop it. Though these attempts aren’t always successful, it shows that not everyone is willing to welcome Planned Parenthood into their community with open arms.

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