Protesters target and parents question new D.C. Planned Parenthood location

Protesters write message "Welcome we kill babies" outside of new Planned Parenthood location in Northeast D.C. Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2016. (Photo courtesy of Kelsey Harkness/Twitter)

Planned Parenthood has opened its new D.C. location in Northeast Washington. The selection of that site has been a source of some controversy because of its proximity to a popular charter school.

Just off 4th and Florida Avenue, NE, the Planned Parenthood facility is brighter and larger than the 16th Street Northwest location it replaced. It has an extra exam room, additional staff and increased security measures.

“So we thought through everything, security of course being a primary concern," said PPMW president and CEO Laura Meyers.

The organization says it chose the 4th Street, NE location because it is centrally-located, a short walk to Metrorail and near multiple bus stops.

But next door, at Two Rivers Public Charter School, some parents expressed frustration throughout the construction, because even then Planned Parenthood regularly attracted anti-abortion protesters.

Monday night, protesters were again outside the health center as the organization celebrated its grand opening. A photo, taken by Twitter user Kelsey Harkness, shows someone used sidewalk chalk to write a message on the sidewalk in front of the building: "Welcome. We kill babies."

Several parents of Two Rivers students have said they are especially concerned about their children being exposed to graphic images of aborted fetuses in signs or pamphlets handed out by protesters.

“It's despicable that adults would involve children in what is an adult conversation that should remain among adults,” said Meyers.

Community members point out that the demonstrators lately have moved their protests closer to the clinic and further from the school. Also, in the past year, the school's playground has been covered with a privacy wrap.

Two Rivers’ executive director declined to comment about that change or the school’s new neighbor.

Still, Meyers said Planned Parenthood has a highly positive relationship with the school and the neighborhood.

“We look forward to serving the community for decades to come,” she said.

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