EDGEWATER — Neighbors will rally in support of a local Planned Parenthood clinic Wednesday after the health center was vandalized twice this week.
Someone damaged the windows and front facade of the Planned Parenthood at 5725 N. Broadway overnight Monday and Tuesday, according to Chicago Police and Planned Parenthood of Illinois.
A staffer came into work around 7:30 a.m. Monday and noticed a projectile pellet had damaged a front window of the clinic, a police spokesperson said. The pellet was found inside the clinic.
The clinic was targeted again Tuesday, when someone broke out a window and then ran off, police said. In both cases, no injuries were reported and no arrests have been made.
Jennifer Welch, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Illinois, said officials believe the same person is responsible for both attacks and used a sling shot damage the windows and building. Security cameras at the clinic caught footage and the clinic is working with local police on the case.
There was no disruption to services at the clinic, which is still open and seeing patients, Welch said.
The attacks have rattled staffers at the local clinic, local activists said. It comes amid a rise in “rhetoric against Planned Parenthood and abortion providers nationwide,” Welch said, and as the U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear an abortion rights case out of Mississippi.
“While we are no stranger to vandalism, we take every act very seriously because our top priority is always the safety and well-being of our patients and staff,” Welch said in the statement.
Neighbors and activists will host a rally at 5:30 Wednesday near the Broadway and Hollywood Avenue Planned Parenthood location in protest of the vandalism, organizers said. The public is invited to attend.
“A lot of clinics face violence from the so-called pro-life crowd but it is really disturbing that someone would try to intimidate health care providers here in such a pro-choice city,” Rachel Cohen, with Chicago Feminist Action, said in a statement. “I hope we can use this awful moment to come together and make our movement for reproductive rights, trans healthcare, and healthcare for everyone even stronger.”
Planned Parenthood is aware of the rally, but the organization has a longstanding policy of “non-engagement” after acts of violence against clinics, Welch said. Protests can confuse and alarm patients, who might be scared off by the crowds, she said. Tonight’s demonstration will take place after the clinic is closed.
“We are deeply grateful for the community’s ongoing support,” Welch said. “… We are thankful this event is happening late in the day, when the health center is closed and patients are not present.”
Organizers said they are aware of Planned Parenthood’s position but said they felt it important for community members to support the clinic’s staff, who have told some activists they are concerned about the attacks, said Lauren Bianchi, an organizer and member of Chicago For Abortion Rights.
“They know that going to work for an abortion provider can put their life in danger,” Bianchi said. “We want clinic staff to feel supported. We think it’s very important for the community to come together and say this is unacceptable.”
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