Target: Wanda Williams, President of Harrisburg City Council
Goal: Commend Harrisburg, Pennsylvania’s city council for standing up for Planned Parenthood
Over the past year, Planned Parenthood has been threatened by protesters and politicians alike. Thankfully, the City Council of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania has taken a stand to protect the women who rely on Planned Parenthood for patient care and family planning. The Council voted unanimously to establish a 20-foot buffer zone around reproductive health facilities. The buffer would prevent protesters from obstructing driveways and sidewalks and from blocking patients’ access to the facilities.
Councilmember Susan Brown-Wilson pointed out that many protesters assume that women entering Planned Parenthood facilities are there for abortions, even though Planned Parenthood offers many services unrelated to abortion. In fact, Planned Parenthood serves an estimated three million women each year—and only three percent of all services have anything to do with abortion. Regardless of a woman’s reasons for using Planned Parenthood, Brown-Wilson said, she has a right to enter the building without fearing for her personal safety or feeling threatened.
The Council had good reason to be concerned about the harassment of Planned Parenthood patients; recently, a patient’s father was stabbed outside a Seattle Planned Parenthood following a dispute between the patient and a protester. A buffer zone will not eliminate the underlying problems surrounding opposition to Planned Parenthood, but it sends a clear message that violence and harassment are not acceptable aspects of a protest.
Commend the Harrisburg City Council for respecting the rights of Planned Parenthood’s patients and for defending women’s access to medical and reproductive health services. Sign the petition and thank the Harrisburg City Council for standing up for women’s rights.
Dear Councilmember Williams,
On behalf of the estimated three million women who use Planned Parenthood services each year, I would like to thank you and the entire Harrisburg City Council for taking steps to protect patients from harassment and violence. The unanimous decision to establish a 20-foot buffer zone around reproductive health clinics sends a strong message that while protest is a constitutional right, violence, harassment, and intimidation are not.
Many women rely on Planned Parenthood for services unrelated to abortions, such as birth control, breast exams, STI screenings, and gynecological exams. These women—as well as those actually seeking abortions—have a right to access their healthcare without fear and unnecessary complications.
Thank you for standing up for the rights of Planned Parenthood’s patients.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: daveynin via Flickr