Holding On: Both Abortion Sides Have Been Mobilizing Locally For Years | Local

Although the stakes are higher for anti-abortion activist Marsha Brown and abortion rights advocate Enid Mastrianni, things are still business as usual.

Some protesters on both sides of the abortion rights issue have reportedly expressed concern that the landmark 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade was challenged or not.

While it can be argued that the stakes are much higher for abortion rights advocates – if the ruling is overturned, it will have the greatest impact on people who want abortion access to remain. a constitutional right – it would still be legal in New York State. , independently.

Anti-abortion campaigner Marsha Brown stands outside Planned Parenthood’s offices on Bay Road, Queensbury, almost daily, protesting for a long time with a sign that reads: ‘I regret my abortion’.

By the time Brown was 18, she already had three children and another on the way. She said she made the difficult decision at the time to have her fourth child aborted, a decision she says she now regrets.

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Brown married young and says the father wasn’t around to help her with the kids, which contributed to her difficult decision.

Brown is outside the Bay Road Health Clinic up to five days a week, and she said she hopes to dissuade women from having abortions.

Marsha Brown stands outside Planned Parenthood’s offices on Bay Road in Queensbury on a recent Monday. She comes there almost every day in the late morning or early afternoon to spread her message, hoping to convince women not to have an abortion.

Drew Wardle

Brown said that “there are four babies on Earth because of her.”

She’s not always alone on Bay Road. Every Monday, a group of men and women come together, as they say, to pray for women at risk of abortion, but also for the people who work at the clinic.

While religion connects these two parties, Brown identifies as Protestant, while the other group of five to seven people are Catholic.

Jeff Smith, who is part of the Catholic group, says he and a few others have been praying outside of Planned Parenthood since 1997 and used to meet on Warren Street in Glens Falls when the health clinic was there.

While Brown was a little distant on a Monday from those invoking the Ave Maria prayer, Brown said the two parties were friends.

“My sister is in intensive care right now. They’ve come to visit and they’re praying for her,” Brown said.

Anti-abortion protesters

A group of anti-abortion campaigners pray outside Planned Parenthood’s offices on Bay Road in Queensbury on a recent Monday. They gather there every Monday from late morning to early afternoon.

Drew Wardle

Abortion rights activist Enid Mastrianni has been organizing protests since the 1990s, when she organized social rights rallies. In 2017, she organized the Women’s March in Glens Falls, in which some 1,500 people participated. While abortion rights were unchallenged at the time, Mastrianni said it was all connected.

“And after?” Mastrianni asked, adding that if women don’t make their voices heard, they stand to lose a lot more.

“Everyone should vote. Women should run for office,” Mastrianni said.

On May 14, Mastrianni held an abortion rights rally in Glens Falls City Park, where about 100 people showed up and chanted “my body, my choice.”

“In 2013, I noticed the protesters outside Planned Parenthood, when it was on Warren Street, were getting more aggressive,” Mastrianni said.

Whether this is Smith’s group specifically is unclear. Smith and others in his group who now gather on Bay Road said they had never been aggressive and only prayed in the hope of “saving babies’ lives”.

Mastrianni said the Warren Street group was the catalyst for starting an online group called “Glens Falls Planned Parenthood Counter Protest: Get Your Girl On”. She said there were now around 700 people in the group.

Also at the May 14 rally in Glens Falls were Lori Trzop, vice president of healthcare operations for Planned Parenthood of Greater New York, and Matt Kopans, a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood of Greater New York.

“The right to abortion was codified in New York in 2019,” Kopans said. This means that if Roe v. Wade is canceled, abortions will still be legal in New York.

Kopans said if canceled, Planned Parenthood of Greater New York will be a safe haven and the organization will most likely see an influx of patients.

Kopans said if abortion rights were struck down at the federal level, up to 26 states would potentially ban abortion.

Another Planned Parenthood spokesperson said 80% of Americans support abortion rights.

“The right to an abortion is health care,” Trzop said.

“Providing abortions is just one part of what Planned Parenthood does. We provide other essential reproductive health services for women. People should remember that,” Kopans said.

Along with Planned Parenthood, New York government leaders are working to provide safe protection for abortion rights in the state, reinforcing the idea that New York is a safe haven for those seeking abortions.

This month, Governor Kathy Hochul announced $35 million in funding for a state fund for abortion service providers, which will go to abortion service providers statewide. .

A majority of the funding will go towards expanding access to abortion, such as increasing health clinic staff and to help cover costs for the underinsured or uninsured.

A smaller portion will be used to provide additional safety and security for patients.

Will this additional funding affect anti-abortion protesters outside Planned Parenthood in Queensbury?

Kopans and Trzop said that as long as protesters outside the clinic don’t block patients from entering the clinic or threaten their safety, then probably not.

“If they pray peacefully, that’s their right. As long as they don’t impose anything on us. We don’t seek to impose anything on anyone,” Kopans said.

“We respect the religious choices of others. They should respect the choices of others,” he added.

Drew Wardle is a journalist for The Post Star. You can contact him at 518-681-7343 or email him at [email protected]

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