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Despite abortion ban, Planned Parenthood remains open for other health services

A Planned Parenthood office in Austin with a mural of a woman holding a globe on the side of it.
Julia Reihs
/
KUT
Planned Parenthood clinics in the Austin area are still providing health care services, despite no longer performing abortions.

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Planned Parenthood clinics will remain open and continue to offer other health services despite the Texas Supreme Court's ruling Friday that the state can enforce a 1925 abortion ban.

The nonprofit offers reproductive and reproductive-related health care for individuals across the country. Abortion services made up less than 5% of the total patient visits in Central Texas in 2020, according to the most recent data.

Sarah Wheat, a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, said demand for some services like birth control has been increasing.

“I think it's incredibly important that people know that our health center doors are open, especially for patients who might be looking to update their birth control method or come in for consultation on birth control methods available,” she said.

She said interest is on the rise especially for long-term methods of contraception, like IUDs and implants.

In addition to birth control, Planned Parenthood offers STI screening and treatment, yearly wellness checks, cervical and breast cancer screenings, and hormone therapy.

Planned Parenthood is an essential resource for many people because it offers services to all — regardless of insurance or documentation status.

“As a nonprofit, we've got funds that support patients who may need support paying for their visits,” Wheat said. “We've got sliding fee scales in place for patients, so depending on somebody's insurance status, or income status, we're here to make sure that they get the health care that they need.”

Wheat called the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade a "terrible ruling" and said Planned Parenthood is doing everything it can to help Texans control their reproductive health.

“We know it's more important than ever for Texans to be able to access birth control appointments, particularly whatever birth control method is right for them, regardless of whether they have insurance or if they need patient assistance,” she said. “We want to make sure people can get the care that they need.”

In an additional effort to increase access to health services, the four Planned Parenthood locations in Austin have expanded their hours to ensure patients can get an appointment in at least one location seven days a week.

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