By Bill Parry
In the aftermath of last week’s Planned Parenthood shooting in Colorado, administrators at the Diane L. Max Health Center in Long Island City are reviewing their safety protocols and security measures.
The state-of-the-art Planned Parenthood facility, the only one in the borough, opened in September with plenty of security built into the location at 21-41 45th Road in the Court Square neighborhood, according to Christina Chang, vice president of public affairs for Planned Parenthood NYC.
“We haven’t done anything extra since the tragedy because we’re confident that our security system is as strong as possible to ensure the safety of our patients and our staff,” Chang said. “We have spoken with local law enforcement and they’ve been very supportive. They posted a squad car in front of the health center on Monday and they’ve increased their patrols.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday that the state is launching new security measures. The State Police began increased patrols at more than 60 Planned Parenthood clinics and locations throughout New York to assist with security and emergency planning measures.
“Friday’s shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic was a senseless act of violence that has left us shocked and heartbroken,” Cuomo said. “While we are still learning more about what led to this horrendous attack in Colorado, we are taking appropriate precautions and doing everything possible to prevent similar tragedies from taking place in our state.”
Robert Lewis Dear is alleged to have shot and killed a police officer and two civilians during the attack. Nine others were wounded, according to the Colorado Springs Police Department.
“Unfortunately, there is a history of people bringing violence to health centers in the past and so an incident such as this underscores the need for vigilance to ensure that patients and the staff that provide services are safe at all health centers,” said Lauren Tobias, president and CEO of Family Planning Advocates and Planned Parenthood Advocates of New York state.
The gunman in the Colorado shooting mentioned “no more baby parts” in a statement taken by law enforcement after he was taken into custody, a possible reference to the Center for Medical Progress’ series of videos released earlier this year that show Planned Parenthood staff supposedly discussing the sale of fetal-tissue parts. While the videos were widely debunked, several GOP presidential candidates cited them in an effort to defund Planned Parenthood.
“The toxic rhetoric is very bad for this country,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “I think (it) is unfair and doesn’t represent the reality of Planned Parenthood, which is an extraordinary organization that this administration supports fully. I think we need to address the toxic environment because of what it means for policy, not because of an individual who did something horrendous.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr