Despite threats of funding cuts, the Planned Parenthood Pullman Health Center is still dedicated to providing men and women with birth control, STI testing, cancer testing and other health support.
The center, which moved mid-June to a new location at 1525 SE King Dr., has been forced to make changes to make up for budget cuts, said Karl Eastlund, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho.
While the organization will be able to continue the center in Pullman, not all services will be able to run at free or reduced prices, he said.
Because the Pullman center is currently the only one in the area outside of the two in Spokane, and 1 in 5 women visit a center sometime in their life, cuts to the center would be detrimental to health and safety, said Megan Cuilla, regional Planned Parenthood spokeswoman.
“We would certainly look for new sources of funding,” Eastlund said. “We would look for donations. Our donors and supporters are always interested in making sure we have funding, but that's certainly not enough. It would be a severe hardship for the community, that's for sure."
Seventy percent of the center's funding comes from state and federal governments. Finding donors and supporters to make up for the lost money, however, is harder than it sounds due to those who portray the clinic negatively, Eastlund said.
“Unfortunately, people who are against Planned Parenthood have portrayed us incorrectly,” he said. “Some of the misperceptions is that all we do is abortion and, in Pullman, we don't do abortion at all. Pullman is really dedicated towards birth control visits, cancer screening — really basic health care for women and for men.”
Brenna Stroup, president of the WSU chapter of Voices for Planned Parenthood (VOX), said that a lot of people do not understand what Planned Parenthood is striving to do for the community.
“The main goals of Planned Parenthood are just to provide access to affordable, honest and non-judgmental health care to all those that need it,” Stroup said. “People go to Planned Parenthood because they know they can get that.”
By closing down clinics, the government will actually have to pay more bills related to pregnancy because every dollar spent on funding for clinics like Planned Parenthood saves four dollars on these pregnancy costs, she said.
Established in 1986, the clinic currently provides health care to more than 2,000 patients in eastern Washington and northern Idaho.
“When women come into Planned Parenthood,” Cuilla said, “and are making decisions about their health and about their reproductive health, they're not thinking about how they're voting, they're not thinking about government and politicians. They just want to receive the health care and they want to receive it without delay.”
For more information about Planned Parenthood's services, visit http://www.plannedparenthood.org/