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May 10, 22

Manhattan Mobilization Defends Clinic From Anti-Choice Protesters

Report on successful mobilization in defense of a reproductive health clinic in Manhattan, New York, which blocked a group of anti-choice protesters who for years have harassed patients.

photo: @AshAgony

On Saturday, May 7th, a large group of abortion supporters led by NYC for Abortion Rights (NYCFAR) successfully defended a Manhattan Planned Parenthood clinic and prevented anti-choice extremists from marching there to harass patients. NYCFAR regularly organizes clinic defense actions outside St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral, which the Catholic Archdiocese of New York uses as a staging location for their Witness for Life anti-abortion protests.

On the first Saturday of the month, anti-choice fanatics attempt to march from St. Patrick’s to harass patients. NYCFAR has spent years attempting to delay them by mobilizing abortion supporters to hold space on the sidewalk and street. In response to the leaked Supreme Court decision for the Dobbs case, which would overturn Roe v. Wade, a large and enthusiastic crowd assembled outside the church, and for the first time ever, successfully deterred the mob from marching to the clinic. While a few anti-abortion protesters did go separately to the clinic, NYCFAR members surrounded them with umbrellas so patients would not see them.

An organizer with NYCFAR reflected on the action, stating: “As someone who has defended clinics before the leak, I think it’s extremely crucial to do so even more now. We aren’t against churches or Catholics. We are against people from the church going to harass patients trying to seek an abortion. We will continue to defend our clinics, and we will be ready for future right-wing extremism.”

During the action, the pro-abortion demonstrators held signs and chanted. When the crowd learned that the anti-choice activists would not be marching, they held an impromptu speak-out. A small group of right-wing extremists who were on the church steps went viral when they were recorded shouting sexist threats at the abortion supporters. One of these young men wore an “America First” cap, tying him to Nick Fuentes’ “Groyper” movement. His identity and that of others on the church steps have since been exposed by local antifascists.

NYCFAR has been organizing clinic defense actions since 2017 in order to defend NYC abortion clinics. In 2021, NYCFAR’s main focus was on defending a Brooklyn Planned Parenthood clinic, and after a months long campaign of clinic defense, community organizing, petitions, and phone calls, the Catholic church hosting the anti-abortion extremists announced it would no longer do so. NYCFAR can be found on social media — Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok.

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