Nearly 40 years after it first opened in Northgate, the Planned Parenthood clinic in Bryan will be closing at the end of August, the organization announced Thursday.

Bryan's is one of three clinics Planned Parenthood said it will shutter. The two others, in Huntsville and Lufkin, do not offer abortion services and will also be closing at the end of next month. The closings were announced on the same day Gov. Rick Perry signed House Bill 2, which would've forced dozens of clinics like Bryan's to stop performing abortions, but Planned Parenthood representatives said that is not the reason for the closure.

Melaney Linton, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, said the closure had nothing to do with abortions and was, instead, a result of funding cuts to family services from the 2011 legislative session and the state's decision not to accept Women's Health Program coverage at Planned Parenthood.

"With each one of those cuts, we saw our client visits drop precipitously because the women relying on that funding simply didn't have the means to be able to pay out of pocket for their care," said Linton, who was at the 29th Street facility Thursday to discuss the closure with staff.

In 2011, lawmakers pushed for the Texas Women's Health Program, coverage created in 2005 to serve low-income women with contraception and family planning, not to be accepted at facilities such as Planned Parenthood where abortions were performed. State health providers already exclude abortion providers from health programs, and the move lost Texas a $9-to-$1 federal match on funding for the program.

Planned Parenthood said the loss of coverage is the reason for a steep decline in patients in the following years. The Bryan clinic has served 2,700 patients this year, but overall visits are down 49 percent. Two years ago, the clinic had 5,321 visits, but that number has decreased to 2,690.

The legislation had the same effect on the Huntsville and Lufkin clinics -- their visits are both down 56 percent.

Planned Parenthood representatives have said repeatedly that rural and low-income communities will be disproportionately affected by the loss in coverage. Brazos County's poverty rate for 2007 to 2011 was 29.7 percent, according to Census data, far above the state average of 17 percent.

Texas' uninsured rate has also been the highest in the nation for the past five years, with 28.8 percent of Texans lacking insurance, according to a March 2013 Gallup poll.

Lawmakers this year added $71 million to the Texas Women's Health Program, but Linton said Planned Parenthood had exhausted all resources to keep the clinic open.

Coupled with the cuts to the Texas Women's Health Program were massive cuts to family planning funding in 2011. The House and Senate in the last legislative session cut funding from $111 million to $38 million. The $73 million cut from its family planning budget was followed by the closing of clinics across the state.

"The closure of this health center, just like the 60 others that closed in the last two years in Texas, is a direct result of politicians making bad decisions for the state of Texas, and I think it's very tragic and extremely unfortunate," Linton said.

News of the Bryan clinic's closure was called both a victory and a travesty in the community, where it drew little attention over its first 23 years until administrators for the health clinic announced in 1997 that they planned to expand their services to include early-term abortions one day a week.

"I was in disbelief; I was thrilled; I was excited," said Bobby Reynoso, executive director of the Brazos Valley Coalition for Life, said of hearing about the planned closure.

The Coalition for Life began in response to the Bryan Planned Parenthood's decision to start providing abortions and drew national attention in its mission to end abortion services. Now that the clinic is closing, Reynoso said, the organization will focus on education.

"The future of the Coalition of Life is continued education, continue to share real options and let people know that abortion is not a solution, it only makes things worse, and we can do better," Reynoso said. "There is still going to be a need for women in crisis, and we can lean on crisis pregnancy centers and adoption agencies."

Linton said Planned Parenthood has been developing strategies for the past two years to keep the doors open at the health centers, including increasing fundraising, accessing other funding streams and implementing commercial insurance billing for private health insurance. However, she said, not enough women are able to access Planned Parenthood because they needed the public funding.

The three clinics employed a staff of 12, and 9 of them work at both the Bryan and Huntsville locations. Linton said the organization is working with the staff to find them other jobs and see if they may want to relocate to Houston, where there are some job openings.

Nancy Bertsch, a local obstetrician/gynecologist who does not perform abortions and who is a member of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coasts' board, said the nonprofit organization will work to help patients find another provider when they officially close at the end of August.

Planned Parenthood said 130,000 women are going without preventive health care because of clinic closures since 2011, and Bertsch criticized the state for not having a plan for serving areas where women have lost providers.

"This is going to lead to more unintended pregnancies, and more of a burden on this community," Bertsch said.

Rep. Kyle Kacal said the Texas Legislature is committed to ensuring health for Texas women and protecting them from low health and safety standards.

"While these facilities have chosen to close their doors, women in the Bryan-College Station area will continue to have access to health care programs through the three local hospitals and numerous clinics in the area," Kacal said in a statement.

Ann Hazen, who helped bring the clinic to the area to provide women's health exams and birth control, lamented the closure.

"I'm very aware of the number of women who are getting health care there and that they're not able to afford it at other places, and so I think this is a tragedy for women's health," Hazen said.

Many of those who use the service come from Texas A&M and Blinn.

Cadence King, class of '02, was diagnosed with cervical cancer here and relied on the Bryan Planned Parenthood for her treatments.

"I was a student, I had no insurance and that was the only place I could go," King said.

She said Planned Parenthood provided her cervical cancer treatment and procedures, and she continued to do her wellness exams and follow-ups with them even after she left A&M and got a full-time job with benefits because of the relationships she had developed with staff there.

She describes herself as pro-life but she said Planned Parenthood represents something important to her.

"Having that clinic means my parents did not have to sell their home to help me with my cancer treatment," King said. "I definitely would have had to drop out because I would not have been able to afford school. [The clinic's closing] is going to be really significant. If anyone falls into a circumstance like I did, they would have to drop out of school and move home."

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(53) comments

Billybob

There would never be a problem with PP if they weren't killing kids...and using my tax money to do it.

All the sad stories of coat hangers and women dying in back alleys are tired and worn.

Sex outside of marriage is not recreation.

Thank you Texas legislature.

obasfirst

PP is not killing kids. Apparently no tax dollars were spent on your education. Besides that, NO tax dollars were used for abortion.

if someone wants to have sex outside of marriage that's their decision. It's none of your business. Maybe you should move to Saudi Arabia, they share similar views.

Billybob

Google "Alan Guttmacher" which is the research arm of PP. To wit:

* The latest stats (2008) show 324,000 abortions performed by PP out of a total of 1.2 million. PP is by far the largest provider of abortions.
* PP received $542 million from U.S. taxpayers last year...45% of their budget.

Where exactly do you get your info obas? MSNBC?

Saudi Arabia? You're quite intelligent.

obasfirst

-abortions are performed on fetuses, not on KIDS. It's not that hard to understand. There is a big difference.

- By law, federal funding cannot be allocated for abortions, also not that hard to understand.

A better question would be where you get your info from.

Well, it was just a suggestion. Maybe you would enjoy life more there than here, since you share similar views.

I wish I could say the same about your intelligence Billy Bob


obasfirst

if sex outside of marriage is not recreation then what is it?

Billybob

Emotional abuse, physical abuse, disease, pregnancy...perhaps you should've finished your 8th grade biology class.

obasfirst

That's the dumbest answer I have seen so far (and the bar has been set very low)

- emotional and physical abuse: have nothing to do with consensual sex outside of marriage (very sad I have to explicitly mention "consensual" ). Besides, these also happen within a marriage, more often than you probably think. Maybe you have no problem with that?

-disease: I'm sure there aren't too many people that have sex to get a disease. It's a side effect of unsafe sex (maybe a better sex education can help with that)

-pregnancy: we are talking about casual sex here, not too get pregnant (maybe the large number of teenage pregnancies can be reduced by decent sex education too). If unmarried people want to have sex to get pregnant that's their decision and they [probably thought about it for some time.

roy g

Billybob, just because YOU suffered "emotional abuse" at the hands of girls in school who told you "Ew, no way!" and you couldn't "get any" in 8th grade doesn't mean sex isn't fun for others who can get it, either in or out of wedlock.

DavidCNelson

@Billybob: The closure of Planned Parenthood in Bryan will have no effect on "sex outside of marriage" in the Brazos Valley. That has been going on long before Planned Parenthood and will continue unabated. What the closure will lead to, in spite of your "well worn" comment, is more self-induced abortions and admission of those cases to Brazos Valley emergency rooms. It will also lead to more road trips to cross the Mexican border, where RU-486 is readily available without prescription, but it will be administered through self medication--not under the supervision of medically trained personnel.

http://goo.gl/2u32a

agnerd

If you want to reply to someone, there is the little "reply" button at the lower right corner of the person's post.

Justthefacts

Logically, the closing of Planned Parenthood in Bryan will not result in more women driving across the Mexican border for RU-486. Dallas, Austin, Waco and Houston are all much much closer to BCS and RU-486 will still be readily available.

Billybob

Dang, David! I hate it when the sky starts falling!

If a woman is already pregnant, RU486 or Plan B will cause an abortion. You don't have to drive to meh-he-co. Just cruise over to your corner Walgreens.

Would you agree that's it's best to teach kids that there are many consequences to sex outside of marriage? Shouldn't we maintain a high standard whether every kid achieves it or not? Virginity before marriage is what's best for my kids and yours. But if a young lady becomes pregnant, adoption is the best alternative.

roy g

And abstinence education works SO well that we're now the 3rd leading state in teen pregnancies. Oh, well done!

hotdog

Billybob, you should never make ill comments about welfare because your thinking will result in an increase in births to the poor who can not afford contraception otherwise. As far your remark of coat hangers and back alleys getting worn, you are right but the fact is they are true and will become active again. I know, although never forced into use of the old abortion operations, I knew who, where and how to find it. Not a pretty picture. And now add to that no help to avoid unwanted pregnancy and I am repulsed by the thoughts. No one is for abortion, but many of us do not believe it is an issue for the government and I would say most are supportive of contraception for the poor and others.

agnerd

Try clicking the "reply" button next time. It actually works!

Julius

I well remember before Roe vs. Wade & what it was like for women before it was legal. I knew women who did everything from considering getting hit by a car (self abortion) to where you could have it done on the streets. I also remember (in NY) that the woman had to sign a legal agreement that she was insane before having the operation; I actually had a very close friend that had to do this. Sometimes people get pregnant by mistake...let them decide what to do. Yes, coat hangers were actually used and will be again. I wouldn't dream of imposing my views on someone else; don't do it to me.

Brazos County Citizen

" I wouldn't dream of imposing my views on someone else."

Abortion is the ultimate case of imposing views (and a death sentence) on someone else.

blahdyblah

we have come so far ... it's a good thing. the stigma that drove those women to desperate measure don't exist anymore. there are child care centers in our schools now and free birth control pills ... women can still get an abortion, but it will be in a clinic with higher standards than ever before and at a stage that is safe for her body. Stop with the "coat hanger" scare ... women aren't stupid, at least the women in Texas aren't.

obasfirst

Child care centers in our schools? Sure, every child care facility is free right?

How does Texas compare to the rest of the country:
(1 is ranked highest)

-Teenage Birth Rate: 4th (highest)

-Percent of Non-Elderly Women with Health Insurance: 51st

- Rate of Women Aged 40+ Who Received Mammograms: 42nd

- Percent of Needs Met for Women Seeking Contraceptives: 36th

- Percent of Pregnant Women Receiving Prenatal Care in First Trimester: 50th

It seems Texas is not doing that great on women's healthcare issues after all. Maybe the elected officials should try to do something about that first.

The assertion that this bill is for the safety of women is the biggest lie ever told.

roy g

I thought we were now 3rd in teen pregnancy rates

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWlbN2b1PGg

obasfirst

Regarding no stupid women in Texas:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/24/jodie-laubenberg-texas-rape_n_3493220.html

Doesn't get any more stupid than that.
This Texas woman is one of the elected officials pushing for the strict abortion rules, go figure!

Pokey

So babies 20 weeks and older will no longer have their arms and legs pulled off and have their little head crushed for easy exit.......this is a good thing, right ?

blahdyblah

right ... [smile]

obasfirst

abortions after 20 weeks are never elective, they are always for fetal anomalies. I guess you prefer the baby to be born, be in excruciating pain for a short time and then die. That's a good thing right?

Billybob

obas...please put down your comic book and READ!

"Ron Fitzsimmons, executive director of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers, shocked the general public in 1997 when he admitted that the vast majority of partial-birth abortions were performed on healthy mothers and babies."

FYI - a partial birth abortion is after 28 weeks!

Try using Bing or google sometimes!

obasfirst

hahaha, you're so funny: "put down a comic book"

I never even mentioned the term "partial birth abortion" so that comment is useless. I commented to someone who mentioned explicitly 20 weeks.

obasfirst

btw, regarding your Ron Fitzsimmons schocker, just read

http://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http%3A%2F%2Ffindarticles.com%2Fp%2Farticles%2Fmi_m1295%2Fis_n9_v61%2Fai_19732071%2Fprint&date=2008-02-03

A quote:
"When this bill was initially introduced in 1995, the understanding of many of us was that it was aimed at third-trimester abortions," she wrote. "We said they're exceedingly rare; that they're almost exclusively done when there's a fatal or very severe anomaly and/or when the mother's health is at risk. Then all of a sudden people were talking about `thousands' of these procedures being done and how everyone in the pro-choice community had misinformed everyone. What they were talking about were procedures being done in the second trimester, which we never thought was an issue because, as you know, Roe v. Wade protects abortions through the second trimester from interference by the state."

Sabio

obasfirst, better be ready to back up those "never" and "always" statements. Betcha you can't prove that.

obasfirst

Quoting:

As for the percentage of abortions that occur after 20 weeks Gilberg-Lenz cites research from the Guttmacher Institute, “approx. 3-5% of abortions occur from 16-19 weeks and between 0.5-1.1% after 20 weeks — these are NEVER elective — they are ALWAYS for fetal anomalies — many which are incompatible with life or with any quality of life-

So, just look it up on the Guttmacher site.

Besides, common sense tells that women don't really change their mind after 20 weeks to abort after all.

roy g

Yes, Pokey, for all 0.7% of procedures done, that would have been a good thing ... except for those that actually live after being born and may be so handicapped that they essentially can never function.

spacenugget

It is truly a sad day for the Brazos Valley. So much for preventative care to those who need it most. So much for education. So much for women's rights.

Texas, you are unbelievably embarrassing.

Justthefacts

If preventative care is your concern, there are plenty of resources in our community for everything EVERYTHING Planned Parenthood did except abortions. Call United Way's 211 for a complete list. Many of these organizations provide these services at lower costs than PPH.

pbain

It is a good thing, maybe people will be a little more responsible if they don't have the PP scapegoat to erase their bad decisions. It is not about taking away women's rights, but protecting the rights of the unborn. The women chose to have unprotected sex, the child did not choose to be created. I had an unplanned pregnancy with a person I cannot stand, and you know what? My daughter is the BEST thing to ever happen to me.

As far as providing care to the poor, ever heard of medicaid? It is actually pretty easy to get for poor people and covers 100% of the costs of medical care.

obasfirst

sure, every woman who has an abortion does it with a big smile on her face right? It's not a major difficult decisions after all.

Medicaid, what are you a socialist or something.
Covers 100% of the cost???

Time for men to keep their pants zipped....get vasectomies, stop rapping women, and start taking responsibility.

roy g

I can't stand rap or hip-hop either, but what has that got to do with this?

Billybob

Hey spaced...you can move to a "death state" anytime you want.

Stop. Killing. Kids.

obasfirst

Death state?
He is already here. Texas has the highest number of executions by far

Texas Health stats (compared to rest of US):

- Percent of Uninsured Children: 2nd
- Percent of Children Living in Poverty: 7th
- Percent of Population Uninsured: 1st
- Percent of Non-Elderly Uninsured: 1st
- Percent of Low Income Population covered by Medicaid: 48th
- Health Care Expenditures per Capita: 46th

Go Texas!!!

In many cases the only states with worse statistics are Alabama, Mississippi, etc. Texas is at least a national leader in not caring about its citizens.

Viper21

"...the closure had nothing to do with abortions..."

Yeah, right.[wink]

JMO

Spacenugget: so, move already.

Sabio

If Planned Parenthood offers such important women's health services, and abortion is just a small part of their revenue stream, why would they have to close ANY clinics? The only part of their services impacted by this bill is providing abortions. In the case here, the choice being made is one to not spend the money to upgrade the facility to the standard of an ambulatory surgical center.

None of the other services offered by Planned Parenthood are affected. So again, why are they closing?

obasfirst

Do you even read the articles before firing of stupid comments?

Let me quote for you:
"said the closure had nothing to do with abortions and was, instead, a result of funding cuts to family services from the 2011 legislative session and the state's decision not to accept Women's Health Program coverage at Planned Parenthood."

I have not doubt the timing might be a bit politically motivated though.

ftw

If you have kept up on this bill at all, you would know the 20 week limit is not a problem. In fact many, if not most people would support a limit at 20 weeks, even though most courts have rule it unconstitutional.

The problem is in the other 3 items in the bill:
"It includes four major elements: a ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, a requirement that abortion physicians have admitting privileges at local hospitals, a requirement that abortion facilities meet the same standards as surgical centers and restrictions on abortion-inducing medication.". The problem is in meeting the same standards as a surgical center. For most locations, it would cost about 1 million dollars to bring the centers up to that standard.

It is obvious to most people that the intent of this bill was to close abortion centers, not by limiting the number of weeks an abortion is an option, but by putting these services out of business.

Incidentally, Idaho’s 20-week ban was struck down in March, and court action in Georgia has stalled implementation of that state’s ban.

obasfirst

Well, it's obvious this bill has only one purpose; making it as hard as possible for Texas women to get an abortion. To even pretend that it is to improve women's health and/or safety is just a blatant lie. I don't know how they can say that with a straight face (besides the whole thou shalt not lie thing).

It will probably be struck down in the court system.

I think the whole bill is for the personal glory of the bill sponsors, both politically and because they think they might get a better seat in heaven.

roy g

As usual, all knowing, you post while knowing nothing, reading nothing, understanding nothing. Try actually reading the story.

gfy

God is the only natural born killer that should be murdering innocent babies. God loves to kill babies, well it's true read your bible.

Timpal

Shut up forced pro birther. PP rocks

roy g

People keep mentioning back alleys and coathangers, but this is a lot closer to reality, and it was already taking place before the restrictions:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-07-11/flea-market-abortions-thrive-as-texas-may-close-clinics.html

Note that education is a key, if not THE key component in mitigating this situation, but that is anathema to conservatives because it "condones" sin. So the problem continues unaddressed, with ignorance the norm where the abstinence education message doesn't reach, and our "leaders" knowing full well that neither is a solution to the problem, but rather major contributors.

ihcalam

I found this part of the article very interesting "she said PP provided her with cervical cancer treatment and procedures". What kind of cancer TREATMENT does PP provide? Chemotherapy? Radiation?

blessed2013

Nancy Bertsch has to be noted as a gynecologist that doesn't perform abortions yet, clearly states:
" This is going to lead to more unintended pregnancies and more of a burden on this community"
Honey, a human life isn't a burden. Psalm 139 states, we were knit together in our mother's womb. The closing of this branch was wonderful. Women can find alternative care else where. At a place that's not killing innocent life.

BB

Thank you for the News Article. The loss of any healthcare option is tragic, especially in Texas.
Unfortunately, the "news" about the clinic's closing has again become but a gambit for the pro-life blogging. Since Roe v Wade is just something to circumvent, they can now turn their attention to throwing A&M students with differing opinions out of their dorm windows.

Timpal

Shame on these evil anti choice pig lawmakers. Womens health matters

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