Planned Parenthood closes Houghton health center
HOUGHTON -- After two years of operation on Shelden Ave. in spite of opponents'
often objectionable, graphic signs of protest, Planned Parenthood closed its health center in downtown
Houghton on August 21. Services are now available from the Marquette center
through a local phone connection, and birth control is still available on line.
"After two years of operation in Houghton, we've decided that consolidating our U.P. services in Marquette is the best stewardship of our agency resources," said Scott Blanchard, Executive Director/CEO of Planned Parenthood Northern Michigan (PPNM).
"While we recognize the need for affordable family planning services in the Copper Country, our Houghton center simply hasn't served enough clients to justify the monthly costs to keep it going," said Blanchard.
It was a difficult decision, he noted, in part because those who oppose Planned Parenthood's presence in Houghton will undoubtedly see this as a victory.*
"However, this was strictly a business decision," he said.
Opponents of Planned Parenthood carried controversial, graphic signs of
protest on Shelden Avenue in front of the Houghton Center while it was in
In the days ahead Planned Parenthood will begin individually contacting clients of the former Houghton center to offer help with the transition to Planned Parenthood's Marquette center, or to another local provider. Blanchard noted that many of the agency's Houghton clients previously came to Planned Parenthood in Marquette for services, so he anticipates that's what most will choose to do.
Clients of the former Houghton center can call 482-0790 to be connected to Planned Parenthood's Marquette health center where they can make appointments, order
supplies or request that confidential records be transferred to another provider. They can also order birth control supplies online at
"For women in the Copper Country, Planned Parenthood's affordable birth control supplies will continue to be as close as the click of a mouse thanks to
www.PPexpress.org (the agency's "Pills Online" service),"
Blanchard said. Clients wishing to receive their reproductive health care locally can also contact the Western U.P. Health Department or a primary care physician.
Martha Lancaster, Planned Parenthood's Director of Community Services, noted that local Planned Parenthood supporters have expressed sadness about the decision, but have been "very understanding."
"They understand we didn't come to this decision easily," Lancaster said, "and that sometimes the best stewardship of agency funds requires hard decisions." She added, "We're confident we can continue to provide affordable, confidential reproductive health care services to the women of the Copper Country."
Lancaster has notified supporters that Planned Parenthood will be organizing participation for the April 25 March for Choice in Washington, and they hope to include a Copper Country contingent.
Tech Lode, in an Aug. 28, 2003, article, reported no records indicated how many students were using the Houghton
Planned Parenthood center. However, the article notes, "Some feel that the protestors had an effect on clients to the clinic, therefore causing its closing."
Planned Parenthood is the nation's largest and most trusted voluntary reproductive health care provider. Last year, Planned Parenthood Northern Michigan served over 7,500 clients in
three health centers and over 8,500 teens and parents with outreach education programs.
For more information about Planned Parenthood visit their
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