Women’s rights pioneer Merle Hoffman endorses Lancman for Queens district attorney

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City Councilman Rory Lancman’s campaign to be the next Queens district attorney picked up the endorsement of Merle Hoffman, a pro-choice pioneer and founder of Choices Women’s Medical Clinic in Jamaica.

Citing Lancman’s long record of fighting for a woman’s right to control her own health decisions, Hoffman threw her support behind Lancman after the two worked hard to defend her clinic and its patients from a relentless campaign of intimidation.

“With Donald Trump reshaping the judiciary and using his executive authority to restrict choice, putting Roe v. Wade at risk and emboldening anti-choice zealots like never before, I’m strongly supporting Rory Lancman to be out next district attorney,” Hoffman said. “Rory is not only politically pro-choice, but has demonstrated time and again his willingness to support and defend the thousands of women a year who access reproductive health services, including abortions, at my clinic in Jamaica, Queens.”

Hoffman established the Flushing Women’s Medical Center, one of the first ambulatory abortion centers in the nation in 1971, shortly after New York State legalized abortion and two years before the historic Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision. She later moved her clinic to Jamaica and renamed it Choices Women’s Medical Center which is one of the largest and most comprehensive women’s health center in the country, serving over 40,000 women each year.

For nearly half a century, Hoffman has battled “anti-choice sentiment, zealots and bigots” and Lancman was the first elected official to visit Choices and offer to help, Hoffman said.

“From cracking down on so-called pregnancy crisis centers that trick and traumatize women who think they’re visiting an abortion provider, to protecting our clinic from those who would block women from accessing our services, Rory has been there to insure these women get the full protection of the law,” Hoffman said. “Even though New York was one of the first states to legalize abortion in 1970 there is still a law on the books that makes it a crime for a woman to obtain an abortion after twenty-four weeks even to protect her health. The Queens District Attorney could be the last line of defense against criminalizing women who choose to have an abortion if Trump’s Supreme Court overturns Roe. That’s why the next district attorney has to be Rory Lancman.”

Last summer a federal judge ruled in favor of 13 anti-abortion protestors who had harassed and allegedly threatened patients shielded by their escorts entering Hoffman’s clinic.

“I have to deal with constant threats, bomb threats, constant people outside of the clinic, aggressive protestors, which I have ever day,” Hoffman said in a campaign video. “After Trump’s election, things got hotter.”

Lancman announced his candidacy for district attorney in September seeking to replace Richard Brown who has been the longest-tenured district attorney in New York City, having served since 1991.

“Merle Hoffman has been a pioneer fighting for women and their right to control their own bodies, and her leadership has changed our country for the better — it is an honor to receive her endorsement,” Lancman said. “As District Attorney, I will work hand in hand with Merle and other women leaders to ensure that no Queens woman is put in legal jeopardy for her reproductive choices, or intimidated and harassed in surrendering her right to obtain a safe abortion.”

Brown has yet to announce if he will seek re-election last year. In October, retired Supreme Court Justice Gregory Lasak announced he would run for the office.

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