New Planned Parenthood center in Milwaukee County seeing patients
Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin’s newest health center in Milwaukee began seeing patients this week, offering a full spectrum of care to women including abortion services, STD testing and treatment, contraception, cancer screenings and more.
This is the sixth PPWI center in Milwaukee County and the only one there providing abortions, according to Tanya Atkinson, president and CEO of PPWI. By the group’s count, that means there are three facilities in the state providing abortions. Two in Milwaukee and Madison are run by PPWI, while another in Milwaukee is run by Affiliated Medical Services.
Including the newest location, PPWI has 21 centers in the state. And Atkinson says getting more of a presence in Milwaukee is particularly important.
“This is a region that is highly populated, so we want to make sure it's accessible to as many people as possible,” Atkinson told WisBusiness.com. “We wanted to make sure we're in more populated regions.”
According to a release from the nonprofit organization, one in five women goes to Planned Parenthood for preventive health care such as birth control, STD services and cancer screenings. In Milwaukee County alone, PPWI sees over 30,000 patients each year.
The new location, Atkinson says, was selected so that expansions in services like new screening techniques for various cancers can be easily pursued.
“It’s beautiful, inclusive and represents the dignity our patients deserve,” she said. “We’re a health care provider; like most, we’re continually looking for ways to improve the care we provide our patients.”
And while anti-abortion groups in the state are criticizing the new facility, Atkinson says the organization is focusing on the support it’s received.
“We’ve received incredible support from all corners of Wisconsin… We have supporters who understand how important this care is,” she said. “We’re deeply honored to have that support from individuals and organizations.”
Some of these are the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health, ACLU of Wisconsin, Diverse and Resilient, Milwaukee Health Commissioner Bevan Baker and Democratic lawmakers Rep. Gwen Moore and Sen. Tammy Baldwin.
Pro-Life Wisconsin published a blog post Monday arguing that PPWI moved to the new location just to escape protesters. And Wisconsin Right to Life put out a press release at the end of last week arguing that the move wasn’t motivated by concern for women’s health.
“The opening of this facility exposes Planned Parenthood’s true colors -- that they don’t care about truly serving women,” said Heather Weininger, executive director of Wisconsin Right to Life. “Instead, they will follow the money, whether it’s from the taxpayer’s pocketbook or from exploiting women in Wisconsin’s largest city.”
In response, Atkinson points out that the $8 million facility was funded by private donations.
“This decision was done with patients in mind -- not politics,” Atkinson said.
She added that for individuals and groups that are concerned about abortion, it’s “really important” to find common ground in supporting access to contraception, which she says drives down the number of unwanted pregnancies.
See Pro-Life Wisconsin’s blog post here: http://www.prolifewi.org/blog/2011
See the release from Wisconsin Right to Life here: http://wrtl.org/legislationelections/newsroom/why-does-planned-parenthood-need-taxpayer-money-again/
See more on Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin here: https://www.plannedparenthood.org/planned-parenthood-wisconsin
--By Alex Moe