Planned Parenthood Mohawk Hudson serves an area larger than some small states. But when creating a campaign to help fund the construction of a new health center in Queensbury, it found its leadership team on Lake George.
Jessica Rubin and Sam Caldwell of Bolton Landing co-chair a Steering Committee that includes Sam’s parents, Ted and Jane Caldwell. Joan and By Lapham, Fish Point summer residents, co-chair an Honorary Committee.
Among the new health center’s supporters are Lauren and Ken Parlin, Hague summer residents who hosted a benefit for the project in December. To a group representing all points on the lake, Ken Parlin made two announcements. First, that the Parlin family would make a sizeable donation in honor of Ken’s late grandmother, Glens Falls psychiatrist Maria Mintz.
And second, they would join with others to secure naming rights to a staff room that would honor another Hague resident, Sheri Delarm Ginn, who worked as a Planned Parenthood community educator before switching career tracks and opening a restaurant.
Co-ordinating these activities is Amy Bloom, a Director of Special Projects for Planned Parenthood Mohawk Hudson who has her own Lake George connections: she’s a fourth generation summer resident. Her great-grandparents began spending summers on Lake George in the 1940s, camping on Big Burnt Island before settling in Basin Bay.
“I knew Lake George residents would be supportive of the new health center, since it will be in our back yard and serve our community,” said Bloom. “Still, I’ve been particularly impressed by how passionate that support is.”
According to Bloom, the new health center, which will be located near the SUNY Adirondack campus, is expected to see roughly 5,000 patients a year.
“We offer all kinds of preventative and primary care, and the new health center, with more rooms, more flexible space and better parking, will make this a much more user-friendly facility,” said Bloom.
Planned Parenthood currently occupies a converted house in downtown Glens Falls that has outlived its usefulness, said Bloom.
Bloom also acknowledged that many patients had become uncomfortable visiting the downtown clinic.
Although abortions constitute only a tiny fraction of the services offered by Planned Parenthood, patients of all kinds have been intimidated by the anti-abortion activists who operate nearby, some of whom have vowed to force Planned Parenthood to leave the area.
Jane Caldwell was among those who volunteered to work as a “Clinic Escort,” protecting patients from harassment as they entered or left the building.
“Jane has literally walked the walk when it comes to supporting our local Planned Parenthood; she has been a tireless advocate and volunteer,” said Jessica Rubin, who said that the first donation made to the campaign by Sam and her was in honor of Jane Caldwell.
Their donation, she said, “is an investment that ensures that our family’s values of acceptance, compassion, and respect are actively reflected in this special place.”
Sam Caldwell said, “While this is an unspeakably beautiful place to come of age, it can also be a difficult environment for young people struggling with personal issues. It’s important to us that everyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, has a safe place where they are respected and can receive sound, nonjudgmental medical care. So we’re proud that Planned Parenthood is growing with the times, providing counseling and services for the LGBTQ community.”
Before moving to Glens Falls with her husband, Dr. Maxwell Mintz, and starting her psychiatric practice, Dr. Maria Mintz worked at the first Planned Parenthood clinic in the nation, the Margaret Sanger Bureau, Ken Parlin said.
His mother, Joan Parlin, noted that as a child, Maria Mintz hoped to become a veterinarian, “but her father said that no one would take their pets to a woman. So she became a physician. Apparently, people are less protective of their humans than they are of their animals.”
Female physicians, however, were such a rarity that as a child in Glens Falls, she would be told, “Of course your mother’s not a doctor, she’s a nurse,” Joan Parlin said.
Maria Mintz “would be so honored to have a have her name on a counseling room in the new clinic,” Parlin said, adding that her mother was a supporter of women and girls not only as a physician but as a volunteer, working on behalf of several local organizations.
According to Amy Bloom, Planned Parenthood needs to raise more than $1 million to finance the reconstruction of the new health center, which is expected to open this spring.
Photos from above: Joan Lapham, Amy Bloom, Jessica Rubin, Sam Caldwell; and The Parlin family.
A version of this story was first published in the Lake George Mirror.