Just one day before Roe v. Wade was overturned, pro-life supporters in Henrietta, New York, celebrated their own victory after a permit application for a potential Planned Parenthood clinic was rejected.
The town board denied the zoning proposal in a 3-2 vote early Thursday, according to WHAM-TV.
Local residents on both sides of the issue protested to voice their opinions, both inside and outside the town hall.
The main issue of the meeting was to determine whether a shopping mall complex was an appropriate location for the Henrietta abortion clinic.
“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,” Julie Rohn, another pro-lifer, said according to RochesterFirst.com.
The outlet reported that New York State expanded legal protections for abortion rights last week.
Even people who don’t live in Henrietta drove to the town to protest the decision.
“This is an issue that goes beyond Henrietta,” Dorothy Hayes said, per WHAM. “Planned Parenthood is the hub for central, western New York — they affect all the neighborhoods they get into.”
While pro-lifers did not hesitate to protest, pro-abortion forces did not back down, either.
“They are not looking at the broad aspect of things, like taking away birth control and condoms,” said Ashley Billings, a local high school student who supports Planned Parenthood. “That is just going to make teen pregnancy go up, and if you don’t want that, then why would you take anything away?”
Some argued that the central location for the new clinic would have given women more accessible reproductive health care.
“This is about women and their health-care needs, not about abortion,” Bess Watts said.
In response to the downvote, Planned Parenthood’s president and CEO, Michelle Casey, called it “deeply disappointing,” according to RochesterFirst.com.
“All people — no matter where they live — deserve the right to control their own body and future,” Casey said in a statement.
Despite the Henrietta town board’s final decision, the statement also noted that Planned Parenthood “will be expanding services” in either Brighton or Henrietta.
Brighton’s town board approved of Planned Parenthood building a new facility in the town, but the construction project was postponed, according to Spectrum News. The organization still runs its temporary Brighton clinic in a rented space.
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