Anti-abortion activists protested in front of the Melville offices of Sen. Chuck Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on Monday, calling on the two Democrats to ban federal funding of the nonprofit women's health organization Planned Parenthood.
Earlier this month, Gillibrand and Schumer voted against a Republican-backed Senate measure that would have immediately eliminated federal funding of the nonprofit. Conservatives in the U.S. House and Senate are attempting to defund the organization following the release of undercover videos by an anti-abortion advocacy group that show Planned Parenthood executives speaking about the removal of fetal tissue from aborted fetuses. The nonprofit has denied any wrong doing.
Conservatives have threatened a government shutdown if the program continues to receive federal funding, with a coalition of 18 House Republicans saying they will not vote for "any spending resolutions" that include funding for Planned Parenthood.
The Rev. Donald Havrilla of the Southampton Full Gospel Church, one of the coordinators of the protest, called on both senators to reconsider their votes.
"We're going to continue to protest here and take it to the ballot box," Havrilla said.
Members of the Grace and Truth Church in Coram and other anti-abortion activists were also in attendance waving signs to motorists on Pinelawn Drive.
In a speech delivered on the Senate floor on July 30 Gillibrand said defunding the organization which provides preventive health care, including cancer screenings, would hurt women. She added, abortions account for only three percent of the organization's services.
"Let's talk facts, not rhetoric," Gillibrand said. "The fact is that no federal funds can be used for an abortion. No federal funds can be used for an abortion, except in the dire circumstances of rape, incest, or when the life of the woman is in jeopardy."
Schumer has urged Republicans not to tie the Planned Parenthood issue to votes on upcoming spending bills.
"I am absolutely confident that if Republicans try to defund Planned Parenthood in a government spending bill at the end of September, Democrats will unite against it," Schumer told reporters on July 30.