Local family planning organizations are expecting an influx of patients as State College residents look elsewhere for services after the downtown branch of Planned Parenthood closed its doors in December.
Planned Parenthood closed its State College branch, formerly located at 137 S. Pugh St., Suite 7, because the site was no longer economically sustainable. The site — which served about 600 patients a year, was losing money each month by staying open — Kim Custer, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Northeast and Mid-Penn, said.
“We always hate to close our doors to communities that need our services, but there are other resources in the area,” Custer said.
The downtown branch of Planned Parenthood offered annual exams, pregnancy tests, birth control, cervical cancer screenings and sexually transmitted infections testing, Custer said.
The closest Planned Parenthood site to State College is in Harrisburg, which performs abortions in addition to offering the services found at the former State College site.
Local family planning non-profits say they are ready to fill the void.
Both Centre/Huntingdon Tapestry of Health and A Woman’s Concern: Pregnancy Resource Clinic, are preparing to serve more patients.
Patricia Fonzi, of Tapestry of Health, said the organization hopes to partner with other local resources to determine how best to reach students and community members. Already, the organization has seen a definite increase in clients since December, Fonzi said.
A Woman’s Concern plans to offer sexually transmitted infections testing for chlamydia and gonorrhea in March, Executive Director Jenny Summers said. The initiative was given higher priority after Planned Parenthood closed, she said, because the closing generated a greater need in the community.
“Planned Parenthood met that need,” she said. “Our hope is to do the same thing.”
Though they have similar aims, A Woman’s Concern, which is four blocks from campus, and Tapestry of Health, on a public transportation line in Bellefonte, offer different counseling philosophies.
A Woman’s Concern does not offer abortion services or information and instead offers adoption referrals. The organization works to provide the material items needed to raise a baby, Summers said, so women will not be deterred from raising a child for financial reasons. Post-abortion counseling is offered as well, Summers said.
“We try our best to take a non-judgmental approach and let each client know that this is their decision and choice,” she said.
Tapestry of Health workers help pregnant women decide if they want to raise the child, give the child up for adoption or abort the pregnancy. They do offer abortion referrals and birth control, Fonzi said.
“It’s a very supportive type of pregnancy counseling,” Fonzi said. “The last thing I want is someone to have an unintended pregnancy because Planned Parenthood closed its door.”