Brighton Residents Prevail Against Abortion Clinic
Brighton residents group prevails:
Planned Parenthood lease is terminated at Westfall Medical Park
(Rochester, NY.) Brighton Residents Against Violence to Everyone (BRAVE) prevails in stopping construction of a 6500 square foot abortion clinic in Westfall Medical Park, Brighton NY.
In an email dated January 10, 2022, Jeremy Sher, an attorney with Adams LeClaire representing the Town of Brighton, said “[w]e received confirmation that Planned Parenthood terminated its lease with Westfall Medical Realty and will not occupy the South Clinton Avenue, Brighton premises…”.
The letter from LeClaire was received in response to an Article 78 proceeding against the Brighton Planning Board filed by BRAVE on August 21, 2020, challenging the approval of the Project.
Linda Mandel Clemente, the lawyer for BRAVE, said the lawsuit focused on the site plan approval process itself, including the lack of a meaningful review by the Planning Board of the many issues that an abortion clinic can bring to a neighborhood community. The lawsuit questioned whether surgical facilities are a permitted use within the zoning district, the question of waste disposal, as well as deleterious impacts to the community character.
As noted by BRAVE and other petitioners in the suit, the Town has yet to study the more insidious secondary effects to community neighborhoods such as sex traffickers loitering outside the clinic while their victims are having abortions, and lewd public displays by some of those traffickers in response to the “pro life” sidewalk advocates. Police are often called by Planned Parenthood in response to sidewalk “pro life” advocacy, further burdening the Town resources. Given that the planned location, and existing location of a “temporary” Planned Parenthood clinic are within the immediate vicinity of a Catholic school, a Muslim mosque, and a children’s playground, BRAVE maintained that there should have been a heightened concern and review of such negative community impacts by the Town.
According to BRAVE, letters were sent on three occasions to over 80 doctors who had offices in Westfall Medical Park. Ellen Duncan, a citizen of Brighton and a member of Roc Love Will End Abortion, an advocacy group that protects the unborn from abortion violence, says she and others peacefully assemble at abortion clinics and offer maternity and child support to mothers. “Planned Parenthood does not like their business disrupted, and so they frequently call the police,” Duncan says. “It makes sense that other medical personnel in Westfall Medical Park do not want that kind of chaos.”
The lawsuit also questioned the possible adverse effect of the ‘at home’ abortion pill and the Town’s wastewater treatment systems. BRAVE raises this challenge in light of the newly adopted Constitutional amendment guaranteeing every citizen the right to clean water.
A Brighton resident and a member of BRAVE, Carol Crossed, attributes the success to persistent grassroots dialogue among community neighbors and with Brighton officials. For instance, over a 7 month period, Crossed also states that 127 appearances by 62 different individuals were presented to the Brighton Planning Board and Brighton Town Board Members at scheduled town meetings. Ben Chernjavsky of Students for Life says their group participated in approx. 6 weekends of neighborhood door-knocking campaigns.
“Planned Parenthood miscalculated the people of Brighton, whose justice concerns are expansive,” Crossed said.