A Message from Merle Hoffman, Founder/President of Choices
When Choices Women’s Medical Center opened its doors in Jamaica, Queens 7 years ago, I made a commitment to provide the best women’s healthcare possible to a community that needed basic GYN care and prenatal services, as well as family planning and abortion care. Today Choices continues this commitment and, at the same time, has expanded it to serve a population far beyond our own geographic boundaries.
The first patient to ever come to Choices 48 years ago was from New Jersey, a state where abortion was not yet legal. When I met her and held her hand throughout her abortion, I was proud to help begin a new era when women would not have to risk death to end an unwanted pregnancy. Then two years later when the US Supreme Court legalized abortion nationwide, I felt the days where women risked their lives for the right to choose were gone forever.
Now, however, it seems that we are going backwards to a place of no access and no safety. Every day we witness state after state passing laws that make abortion inaccessible and impossible. They seem to be competing with each other to pass the most egregious and outrageous statutes—the most recent one in Texas calling for the Death Penalty for women who choose abortion.
And that is why women are crossing state lines again to come to Choices for safe and legal abortions that they cannot get elsewhere. Ohio, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Bermuda, Jamaica (the country), Upstate New York – these are only a few of the places patients have come from recently.
We have developed special services to help women and girls who live miles away in other cities, states and countries. We work closely with Abortion Funds, organizations that help low-income women pay for their services, and with other dedicated groups that raise funds for transportation and overnight housing that out-of-town patients may need.
Choices is determined to do everything we can to enable women and girls get the abortion services they need, no matter where they live. Women’s lives, their hopes and dreams, are at stake.
There are many ways you can be part of this effort:
- Volunteer with the Haven Coalition to host in your home an out-of-town patient who comes for a two-day abortion procedure.
- Make a generous donation to an abortion fund to help pay for a low-income patient’s procedure.
- Volunteer to be a patient escort Saturday mornings, shielding them from a gauntlet of anti-abortion protestors on the sidewalk outside Choices and walking with them to the entrance.
- Be bold in speaking up about your own abortion if you’ve had one, and support others who have made this choice.
UPDATE: Verdict on Appeal in Attorney General’s Case Against Protestors
The New York Attorney General’s case against anti-abortion protestors outside Choices Women’s Medical Center is currently in the appeals stage. Last winter the court heard the case for a temporary injunction prohibiting the protestors from following and harassing Choices patients coming for appointments Saturday mornings. Despite testimony from Choices volunteer escorts and staff, the judge refused to issue the injunction. The AG’s Office filed an appeal, and the argument will likely be heard in court sometime this fall. We will keep you posted.