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Friday June 11, 1999

Page 1B (top)

Group: Hancock women's clinic too costly

Planned Parenthood says other services serve needs


Staff Writer

HANCOCK --Planned Parenthood Association of Delaware and Otsego Counties will close its once-a-month clinic in Hancock, and that pleases members of the Delaware County Right to Life organization.

Teddie Storey, director of administration, said the closure had nothing to do with strong opposition from the Right to Life group. "It has become too costly to operate, and there are enough other health options now so it's time to pull out," she said.

Planned Parenthood was required to pay a full month's rent for the Hancock clinic site, even though it offered reproductive health services there only one day a month, Storey said. In addition, staff had to travel to Hancock from clinics in Oneonta and Walton, reducing the number of clients seen at the latter two locations.

Edward Szymkowiak, vice president of the Delaware County Right to Life, called the closure a victory and said, "We really think it's due to the prayers and faith," Szymkowiak said demonstrators have continued to picket the Hancock clinic.

He said his group opposes Planned Parenthood because it promotes abortion, offers clients a "morning after" pill and does not require parental consent before providing contraceptives.

Storey said patients who used the Hancock clinic can go to Planned Parenthood's other clinics, including one in Sidney. Each clinic offers a full range of reproductive health care, including pap smears and testing for sexually transmitted diseases. The Oneonta clinic also offers basic health care.

Szymkowiak said a core group of five people have prayed and picketed the clinic site since it opened. "STOPP Planned Parenthood International President James Sedlak gave presentations in the region which moved local pro-lifers to use the STOPP tactics of faithful prayer and consistent, peaceful, legal picketing to warn the community of Planned Parenthood's evils," he said.

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