Responding to a “40 Days of Prayer” movement that vows to close the Glens Falls Planned Parenthood, a group of counter-protesters has been facing anti-abortion protesters for the past several weeks on the street in front of the women’s health clinic. The group is calling itself “Get Your Girl On” and intends to carry out their own “40 Days of Appreciation.”
Coinciding with two Glens Falls Chronicle stories pro-choice protesters called “anti-abortion” and “promotional”, the “40 Days of Prayer” campaign has turned-up the pressure outside the Planned Parenthood offices.
Anti-abortion crusader and local realtor Susan Balfour has purchased the house next door and announced she will be moving the Open Arms Pregnancy Center there from its current location in her real estate office. Another developer, Rocco Musumeci, recently purchased the building across the street and announced his plans to open an anti-abortion “adoption agency” there. That building has been decorated with life-sized statues of Jesus and Mary that overlook protestors.
“We’re just going to surround Planned Parenthood with good stuff,” Balfour told the Chronicle, “they might as well go get new jobs right now.” “40 Days of Prayer” protests have closed 38 Planned Parenthood clinics around the country, she told the paper during an interview in which she said she opposes contraception and believes a woman who is raped should be required to give birth.
About 165 volunteers have joined the Get Your Girl On counter-protesters and the group has started a fund-raising “Pledge a Picket” campaign. Members are also training to become “Clinic Escorts” who protect patients and staff from threats and intimidation when they enter and leave the building.
The clinic has been serving the Glens Falls region, including women in parts of Warren, Washington, Essex, and Hamilton counties for the past 45 years, mostly by providing annual physicals, contraceptives and cancer screenings. One in five women have relied on Planned Parenthood’s affordable healthcare at some point in their lives a staff member said.
The “40 Days of Prayer” campaign is set to end on November 3.
Photo by R.K. Cowles Photography.