US

Planned Parenthood plans to expand abortion services nationwide

Abortion may soon be more readily available than ever before, thanks to a new requirement from Planned Parenthood that more of its centers nationwide offer the service. At least one local chapter so far has decided to withdraw from the network rather than comply.

A local office of Planned Parenthood in South Texas is dropping out of the nationwide network of “America’s most trusted provider of reproductive health care” starting January 1.

According to local news reports, Planned Parenthood is planning on standardizing all of its agencies, which includes requiring that every single one offer abortion services. The CEO of the Coastal Bend office, however, said in a media interview that her center has never provided abortions in the past, and doing so now is unnecessary.

“Our position is that if that is a need in your community, fine,” said CEO Amanda Stukenberg. “There are far greater needs in our area than abortion. We feel that women here have options. We don’t need to duplicate services.”

When contacted by The Daily Caller, Lisa David, senior vice president of Health Services Support for Planned Parenthood, said that the organization is implementing a broad “new patient services initiative.”

“From well-woman exams to lifesaving breast and cervical cancer screenings, more patients will now have access to the full range of Planned Parenthood services,” said David in a statement. “To meet the needs of our patients, Planned Parenthood affiliates will now offer a unified set of core preventive services.”

In the next year, according to David, Planned Parenthood will expand immediate access to testing for HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STI’s). During the next two years, all Planned Parenthood centers will begin to “provide the full range of birth control method options, such as the IUD, in addition to well-woman exams including critical cancer prevention screenings.”

She went on to say that abortion services will be offered in at least one clinic per affiliate. However, a waiver may be obtained in the case of “unique local circumstances.”

Some, however, argue that the expansion of abortion services is more about lining pockets than making women feel safe and secure. “Planned Parenthood claims they’re concerned with women’s health and family planning,” a spokesperson for the Family Research Council, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that advances “faith, family and freedom,” told TheDC.

“We’ve been hearing rhetoric lately that abortion should be safe, legal and rare, but [with this requirement] we can see the writing on the wall. The bottom line is there is no place in the U.S. where a woman would have difficulty getting abortion if they want to.”

The spokesperson went on to say, “This is about expanding services and bringing in more money…they try to create a public image where everything focuses on STD’s, family planning, etc, but abortion is a profitable endeavor.”

Right now, Planned Parenthood has 817 health clinics throughout the U.S. One hundred seventy-three of those already perform surgical abortions, and 131 perform chemical abortions. The Planned Parenthood network is made up of 87 locally-government regional centers, which then oversee hundreds of other clinics.

Earlier this month, Planned Parenthood released its 2008-2009 Annual Report, revealing that it received $363 million in federal funding that fiscal year.