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Pro-Choice Network of Western New York records

 Collection — Box: 1-43, MC 4.14
Identifier: MS-0086

Scope and Contents

Records of the Pro-Choice Network of Western New York, 1988-2005. Collection documents administrative activities, events, and lawsuits on behalf of PCN. It also contains educational background material including an extensive clippings file. All clippings were photocopied on acid-free paper for preservation purposes. Format of materials include photographs, t-shirts and buttons, as well as VHS tapes. Original organization of the records was retained whenever possible. Most duplicate materials were discarded.


  • 1988-2004


Language of Materials

Collection material in English.

Terms of Access

Pro-Choice Network of Western New York records, 1988-2004 are open for research.


Researchers must obtain the written permission of the holder(s) of copyright and the University Archives before publishing quotations from materials in the collection. Most papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures unless otherwise specified.

Historical Note

The Pro-Choice Network of Western New York (PCN) began in 1988 in response to aggressive anti-choice demonstrations at local abortion clinics. The first action of PCN was to implement a volunteer escort service to accompany patients through clinic parking lots. It also started a monthly newsletter to keep its members informed about pro-choice issues. As membership grew, committees were formed concerned with media, programs, politics, law and fundraising.

By 1990, the clinic blockades of the anti-choice protesters were reaching a peak. PCN filed for and received a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) in response to a planned blockade. Further violations of the TRO led the PCN to file for a Preliminary Injunction which was granted in 1992. The Preliminary Injunction, as an extension of the TRO, banned demonstrating within fifteen feet of doorways or doorway entrances, parking lot entrances, driveways and driveway entrances of clinic facilities. This injunction was later upheld by Supreme Court in the case of Paul Schenck and Dwight Saunders, Petitioners v. Pro-Choice Network of Western New York et al., 1997, No. 95-1065, 519 U.S. 357.

It was during 1992, that anti-choice protesters, Operation Rescue used blockade tactics to temporarily shut down a clinic in Wichita, Kansas. Leaders of Operation Rescue called for the next blockades to take place in Buffalo on April 18-25, 1992, where they were publicly welcomed by >Mayor James Griffin. Their two week demonstration was called "The Spring of Life," but was referred to by pro-choice advocates as "The Spring of Lies." Locally and nationally, pro-choice activists mobilized for Operation Rescue's visit, outnumbered anti-choice demonstrators significantly, and kept clinics open during this volatile time.

On October 23, 1998, Dr. Barnett Slepian, an obstetrician-gynecologist whose services included abortion procedure, was assassinated in his home by an anti-choice radical. Dr. Slepian was an activist and a PCN member. PCN started a memorial fund in his honor.

The years following the Spring of Life/Lies events and the assassination of Dr. Slepian brought forth additional local demonstrations and subsequent lawsuits. PCN continued its advocacy for reproductive rights in Western New York.

PCN Mission Statement: from website [last accessed November 15, 2006]

The Pro-Choice Network of Western New York celebrates the lives of women in all their diversity. Accordingly, we believe that it is the sole province of any woman to make any and all decisions with regard to her own body. We exist as an organization to support that right with respect to an individual woman's culture and conscience.

As in the past, we will continue to support the right of any woman to choose or not choose abortion. We stand firmly with our sisters in opposition of intimidation, harassment or other forms of violence from those who seek to challenge this right whether coming from the legislature, the medical or religious communities, or private individuals and organizations. We oppose specific abridgements such as laws requiring parental notification for minors, spousal notification or consent, and the enforcement of mandatory waiting periods for women seeking pregnancy termination.

We acknowledge that controlling a woman's body and reproductive choice is analogous to controlling her destiny. We continue to engage in any and all legal activities which protect the personal integrity and reproductive rights of women. We will do this by organization, education personal integrity and reproductive rights of women. We will do this by organization, education and peaceful demonstration and debate. We will continue to promote the safety of women entering and leaving clinics by providing escorts and engaging in non-violent action.

We encourage participation in this organization by individuals of all backgrounds, genders, and ages. We recognize that the demands of our lives may limit what any given individual may be able to contribute and extend our welcome to all who might lend their time and talent to this effort.


20 Linear Feet (38 manuscript boxes, 4 videocassette boxes, 1 flat box, 1 map case drawer)


Records of the reproductive rights advocacy group Pro-Choice Network of Western New York, 1988-2004. Collection is composed of documents concerning the organization's administration, events, and lawsuits. It also contains educational background material including extensive newspaper and magazine clippings.


The collection is arranged in five series: I. Administrative, II. Committees, III. Events, IV. PCN lawsuits, and V. Educational materials.

Acquisition Information

Collection donated by PCN board members, Adeline Levine, Helen Dalley and Elizabeth Conant in 2003 and 2004.

Accruals and Additions

No further accruals are expected to this collection.

Processing Information

Processed by Erin Verhoef November 2006.
Finding aid encoded by Danielle White, February 2015.


Finding Aid for the Pro-Choice Network of Western New York records
Finding aid prepared by Erin Verhoef.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the University Archives Repository

420 Capen Hall
Buffalo New York 14260-1674 US
716-645-3714 (Fax)