News

Chambersburg Planned Parenthood closes

Written by Matt Bernardini/Chambersburg Public Opinion | Dec 7, 2016 7:51 AM
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Planned Parenthood Chambersburg Medical Center, photographed Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016, is closed at their 1854 Wayne Avenue location. The facility closed on December 1. (Photo: Markell DeLoatch, Public Opinion)

(Chambersburg) -- Planned Parenthood Keystone has closed three offices, including one in Chambersburg at 1854 Wayne Ave.

"Planned Parenthood Keystone has made the difficult strategic decision to consolidate health services by closing three centers located in Chambersburg, Gettysburg, and Scranton," Melissa Reed, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Keystone, said in a Nov. 30 press release. "The decision was made to reduce costs of duplication associated with running three sites in close proximity to others."

Now, the closest Planned Parenthood Center to Chambersburg is located in Harrisburg.

"It is certainly a sad thing considering the teen pregnancy rate in the county that was documented in 2015," said Sheri Morgan, chairwoman of the Franklin County Democratic Committee.

Birth control and family planning are among the many services that Planned Parenthood offers. In 2015, the teen birth rate in Franklin County was 34 births per 1,000 girls, according to the Summit Health Community Health Needs Assessment. That was seven births higher than the average birth rate for the state of Pennsylvania.

Among the options left for people who need family planning assistance or health care would be going to primary care operators, such as Keystone Health.

"Keystone Health offers family planning counseling and a variety of birth control methods (IUD, patch, injection, pills, male and female condoms), PAPs, STD and HIV testing and treatment," said Joanne Cochran, CEO of Keystone Health.

State Rep. Paul Schemel, R-Greencastle, who has been a supporter of using primary care operators instead of Planned Parenthood, expressed support for places like Keystone Health giving family planning and health care.

"Many of these places provide all of the same services that Planned Parenthood does," Schemel said. "The only thing these kinds of Planned Parenthood centers do is refer people to urban centers where they can get abortions."

However, many people, mostly those with lower incomes, rely heavily on Planned Parenthood. A 2015 study by the Guttmacher Institute found that "although Planned Parenthood health centers comprise 10% of publicly supported safety-net family planning centers, they serve 36% of clients who obtain publicly supported contraceptive services from such centers. By contrast, centers operated by health departments serve 27% of safety-net contraceptive clients, FQHCs (federally qualified health centers) serve 16%, sites operated by hospitals serve 8% and sites operated by other agencies serve 13%."

These centers may have longer waits for services than Planned Parenthood clinics, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research and policy nonprofit that aims to advance sexual and reproductive health and rights. The Guttmacher study found that 63 percent of Planned Parenthood health centers offer same-day appointments, while between 30 percent and 40 percent of sites operated by other types of agencies offer same-day appointments.

Additionally, the average wait for an appointment at a Planned Parenthood health center is 1.8 days; the average wait at sites operated by other types of agencies is between 5.3 and 6.8 days.

 

This article is part of a content-sharing partnership between WITF and Public Opinion Online.

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