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Planned Parenthood returns to encouraging response

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Planned Parenthood returns to encouraging response

Brianna Chavez, Reporter

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After nearly ten years, Planned Parenthood has officially returned to El Paso and West Texas. The announcement made earlier this month has several UTEP students excited while some are surprised.

El Paso was one of the largest cities in the United States without a clinic from the national non-profit organization.

Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, which runs 22 other locations in the state, is using more than $10 million of donations to fund the clinic, according to a recent article from Texas Monthly.

According to Planned Parenthood’s website, the organization which has been around for over 100 years, “delivers vital reproductive health care, sex education, and information to millions of women, men and young people worldwide.”

“I think it’s fantastic,” said Nicole Mata, a senior political science major. “Texas is currently seeing and listening to progressive ideas.”

However, others oppose the idea of clinic reopening.

“I thought the recent announcement of the opening of Planned Parenthood in El Paso was very unexpected and surprising,” said Oscar Sanchez, the president of the UTEP College Republicans. “I think most of the pro-life community was caught off guard especially since an abortion clinic, Reproductive Services has closed down last month.”

Reproductive Services, formerly one of El Paso’s few abortion clinics, closed in late September. Planned Parenthood replaced Reproductive Services and is operating from the old facility.

In 2009, Planned Parenthood of El Paso closed two years before the state of Texas barred money from a Medicaid program that funds family services from going to clinics that provide abortions, according to Texas Monthly.

“(When Planned Parenthood left) there was a significant number of El Pasoans —women and men including youth — that were left with limited access to basic sexual and reproductive health care needs that created additional demands,” said Dr. Eva Moya, associate professor in social work.

Dr. Moya has done extensive research on reproductive health in the border area. After surveying people in the El Paso area, many of the 35,000 men and women who were receiving clinical sexual and reproductive health services “were unable to access affordable services,” according to her book “Salud, Genero y Empoderamiento,” Heath, Gender and Empowerment.

“It put pressure into the existing programs which are free that offer those services, so our community was at a loss, in my opinion, when they closed. It was very obvious in our research that there are misconceptions we continue to shortchange.”

Hilltop Women’s Reproductive Center is currently the only for-profit abortion clinic in El Paso. Women’s Reproductive Clinic in Sunland Park, New Mexico is also still running.

Dr. Moya believes the clinic will benefit the UTEP and El Paso community because the area needs more health care providers and services.

Mata agrees especially with the announcement that the university would be closing the Pharmacy at the Student Health and Wellness Center at the end of the year.

“UTEP has shown where it stands as far as the health of its students. I know many women on campus who would fill their prescriptions specifically contraceptives there at a much lower cost than other places.”  Mata said. “Women who cannot afford to go to a doctor as often as recommended must make it a point to educate themselves on (Planned Parenthood) and seeing it as a positive resource for the community but specifically students who for many this is the first time they are independently in charge of their own health decisions.”

Sanchez referred that there are other options for women’s health care in El Paso instead of Planned Parenthood, like Guiding Star El Paso.

Guiding Star, formerly known as House of Hope, is a non-profit organization that aims to help women and men going through unexpected pregnancies “by empowering (the) youth and adults through education,” according to their Facebook page.

The organization offers free pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, counseling, fertility care and “medically accurate information about pregnancies.”

“I don’t think abortion aligns with most El Pasoans values due to the high Hispanic population  however, we will just see as time rolls out for the new planned parenthood facility and will see if it will stick around. But I do believe it is not a great move for the city,” Sanchez said.

Planned Parenthood is located on 1511 E. Missouri Ave. in Central El Paso. Appointments can be made online at www.plannedparenthood.org or by phone at 915-626-5191.

Brianna Chavez may be reached at theprospector1@gmail.com.

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Planned Parenthood returns to encouraging response