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All Volunteer Escort Service for the Summit Women's Center records

Identifier: SSC-MS-00546

Scope and Contents

The All Volunteer Clinic Escort Service Records include legal documents relating to court cases and legal actions involving the service, memorabilia including photographs and volunteer vests, and videotapes created by Donald Hendrickson documenting the anti-abortion protestors who formed around the Summit Medical Center.

The legal documents pertain to anti-abortion demonstrations and protests outside the Summit Women's Center and court cases that involved the service or participants. The photographs in the collection serve to document some of the anti-abortion protestors. The bulk of the collection is comprised of VHS tapes and 8mm videocassettes documenting activities of protestors and the escort service.

Dates of Materials

  • Creation: 1995-2002


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

The Sophia Smith Collection owns copyright to materials produced by the All Volunteer Escort Service; however, copyright in other items in this collection may be held by their respective creators. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. For instances which may regard materials in the collection not created by the All Volunteer Escort Service, researchers are responsible for determining who may hold materials' copyrights and obtaining approval from them. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.

Biographical / Historical

The All Volunteer Escort Service for the Summit Women's Center in Bridgeport, Connecticut was founded by Patricia Hendrickson in 1993. The Summit Women's Center is a branch of Summit Medical Centers. (Other branches are in Alabama, Connecticut, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina and Nevada.) The Summit Women's Center, like the other Summit Medical Centers, is an abortion facility. In addition to performing abortions, the Summit Women's Center in Bridgeport also provides emergency contraceptive pills ("morning after pills" or "Plan B"), RU 486 (an abortion pill), birth control, pregnancy and STD testing, and mental health counseling. The All Volunteer Escort Service was formed to escort patients and staff from the parking lot of the Summit Women's Center to the building, shielding them from harassment by anti-abortion protestors. Abortions were performed at the Summit Women's Center two days a week and the protestors only came on those days to harass patients. The Summit Women's Center in Bridgeport was uniquely vulnerable to attack by protestors because of the relatively long distance patients and staff had to walk from the parking area to the clinic entrance.

In 1994, Hendrickson's husband, Donald Hendrickson, began videotaping the clinic location to document the behavior of the protestors. These tapes were used as evidence in The United States and the State of Connecticut v. Stanley G. Scott, Carmen E.F. Vazquez, Bobby J. Riley (1995), a federal suit filed against some anti-abortion protestors. The suit was filed on the grounds of violations of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act and, after a series of appeals, the Court found against Scott, et al.

The tapes were also used as evidence by the defense in a civil suit filed by the American Family Association on behalf of the protestors against the Summit Women's Center in Bridgeport in 2001. The case was settled out of court in early 2002. It should be noted that some of the videotapes used in the federal case against the protestors, as well as certain court documents, remain filed in Hartford, Connecticut.

The All Volunteer Escort Service ceased operations in 2002 when the Summit Women's Center re-located to a facility with a tall chain link fence protecting the clinic entrance and the parking area.


4.125 linear feet (5 containers)


Abortion rights advocacy group. Videotapes, photographs, and memorabilia documenting the anti-abortion protestors who formed around the Summit Medical Center, an abortion clinic in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Also contains court documents pertaining to a federal suit filed against some protestors.


This collection is organized into three series:


Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

As a preservation measure, researchers must use digital copies of audiovisual materials in this collection. Please consult with Special Collections staff or email to request the creation of and access to digital copies.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The All Volunteer Escort Service for the Summit Women's Center Records were donated to the Sophia Smith Collection by Patricia M. and Donald L. Hendrickson in 2006.

Existence and Location of Copies

Selected videotapes have been copied for research use.

Processing Information

Processed by Corey Fabian Borenstein, 2008.

All Volunteer Escort Service for the Summit Women's Center records
Finding Aid
Finding aid prepared by Corey Fabian Borenstein.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (
  • 2017-07-26T17:48:17-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.

Repository Details

Part of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History Repository

Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063