By Jim Sedlak
In the first week of January 2020, Planned Parenthood in New York state made a big announcement of a major merger and consolidation of five of its nine affiliates in the state. The announcement led with the exciting news:
Planned Parenthood of Greater New York (PPGNY) is excited to announce its launch as the largest Planned Parenthood provider, educator, and advocate of sexual and reproductive health care in New York. PPGNY expects more than 200,000 patient visits a year at its 30 locations across 65% of the state. Planned Parenthood of Greater New York represents the bold future of sexual and reproductive health care. PPGNY will enhance the gold standard services that our patients know and trust by introducing added benefits like uniform electronic medical records, expanded education, outreach and training programs, stronger hyper-local and statewide advocacy initiatives, and shared expertise in specialized services. Planned Parenthood of Greater New York is transforming the delivery of health care to provide additional affordable, quality services to more New Yorkers in more communities.
The announcement revealed the existing affiliates that would be combined to form PPGNY were Planned Parenthood of New York City, Planned Parenthood of Nassau County, Planned Parenthood Mid-Hudson Valley, Planned Parenthood of Mohawk Hudson, and Planned Parenthood of the Southern Finger Lakes.
Now, one year later, we can tell you that PPGNY has not had a very good first year. Almost immediately, its CEO came under fire for her internal racist ideas and her “white supremacist” management styles. Both of these reportedly had caused her dismissal from an earlier Planned Parenthood affiliate CEO job but were, apparently, ignored as she was given command of this “bold future of sexual and reproductive health care.”
These failures in racial management, which eventually led to an “open letter to the board of directors” by the minority employees of PPGNY, were combined with charges of fiscal mismanagement as the affiliate was unable to respond well to stresses brought on by the COVID pandemic. The CEO was fired, and numerous studies and task forces were put in place to try to rescue PPGNY—all, apparently, to no avail.
As STOPP did our annual survey of Planned Parenthood facilities across the country at the end of 2020, we found PPGNY one of the biggest losers in terms of centers closed and areas covered. As 2021 begins, PPGNY is operating only 18 locations (17 of which commit surgical and/or medical abortions on site). Its facility in Watkins Glen is permanently closed, while another nine facilities (Glen Cove, Goshen, Hornell, Kingston, Massapequa, Monticello, Oneida, Rome, and Staten Island) were listed as “closed until further notice.”
Although there was a temptation to blame all these adverse developments on COVID, it was interesting to note that, despite other PP affiliates operating in similar environments in New York state, the Planned Parenthood of Greater New York affiliate was the only one to suffer these closures.
A total of 12 states saw Planned Parenthood centers close in 2020, but the 10 closures made by PPGNY far outnumbered the closures in any other state.
One of the factors, as yet unexplored in depth, of the PPGNY situation is that PPGNY is one of only a few Planned Parenthood affiliates that is unionized.
Jim Sedlak is executive director of American Life League, founder of STOPP International, and host of a weekly talk show on the Radio Maria Network. He has been successfully fighting Planned Parenthood since 1985.