Groups Outraged over Planned Parenthood Expansion

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Planned Parenthood of Houston and Southeast Texas (PPHSET) has announced that it will move into a new 78,000 square-foot flagship health center and administrative headquarters building this spring. The expansion, to include more exam and patient services rooms, more meeting rooms, a research laboratory and an ambulatory surgical center has some groups set to stage a protest and prayer vigil this Sunday, January 17, followed by a silent march and press conference on Monday, January 18.

Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association (AFA), a pro-family advocacy organization, says “This center is smack dab in the middle of four minority neighborhoods, three of them 85% Hispanic and one 80% African-Americans.”

Buddy Smith, executive assistant to Mr. Wildmon, added “It’s fitting that this march will take place on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday, the day we’ve chosen to honor the pioneer of civil rights. We believe every African-American baby in the womb deserves to be a part of Rev. King’s dream, and to have the chance at life that our Founders knew is a God-given right.”

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Other groups, such as the Texas Right to Life organization and the Concerned Women for America of Texas, will also be present at the 2-day event. The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals are also attempting to be a part of the protest, by negotiating with outdoor advertisers to place a billboard near the building that will read “Pro-life? Go Vegan.”

Planned Parenthood has issued a statement that stresses that more services will be performed at the facility than just abortion services. The Family Planning Health Center for women and men will provide affordable, high-quality and confidential health care services, such as annual exams, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, and screenings for breast and cervical cancer for an area that has more uninsured residents than any other area in the nation.

PPHSET also plans to provide educational services regarding birth control and family planning. Child Trends, using statistics from the National Center for Health Statistics, found in 2009 that more girls under 15 give birth in Houston than any other U.S. city. Teens account for about 17% of all abortions in the U.S.

The Texas Freedom Network found that 94% of Texas schools do not give students any sex education beyond urging abstinence, and Robert Sanborn, president and CEO of Children at Risk, particularly scrutinized the Texas legislators for rejecting bills in the last year that would require schools to provide “medically accurate information.”

One statistic likely will not be mentioned at the center – the fact that 85% of women report negative reactions to their abortions including sorrow, sadness, guilt, grief, and regret. Women having abortions experience 1.4 to 1.8 times higher rates of mental health problems, according to a 2009 study from the University of Otago in New Zealand, although the American Psychological Association refutes this statistic calling for more carefully designed studies.

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