Thanks to federal funding, a Planned Parenthood clinic will reopen in Mission, Texas after being closed for two years due to the devastating 2011 family planning budget cuts.
On Sunday, Mission residents celebrated the reopening of the Rev. Bruce Galloway Center, which primarily serves Texans in the western parts of Hidalgo County in the Rio Grande Valley.
The clinic, which does not provide abortion services, will make it easier for women in Mission to receive well-woman annual exams, reproductive health care, contraception, STI testing and treatment, and pregnancy prevention education.
Read more about the reopening of the Mission clinic after the jump.When House and Senate Republicans slashed the Texas family planning budget by two-thirds in the 82nd Legislature, 50 Texas clinics were forced to close and many more reduced access to services.
The Mission facility is the only clinic which has reopened.
The clinic utilized a $200,000 federal grant from Title X of the Public Health Services Act, the only federal grant program created exclusively for reproductive health care and family planning services. The grand was administered by the Women's Health and Family Planning Association of Texas.
Private donors contributed another $100,000 to help the clinic reopen, mostly in increments of $100 or less.
According to Kathryn Hearn, the community services director of the Planned Parenthood Association of Hidalgo County, the clinic will restore health care access to at least 2,000 people, 90 percent of whom do not have insurance and live in poverty.
However, the facility will still be operating at a lower capacity given its low budget. Before the 2011 budget cuts, the Mission Planned Parenthood clinic served about 4,000 people per year.
The clinic's future will rely on continued funding from the family planning grant, so Planned Parenthood will have to reapply annually.
Although abortion services are not available at the Mission clinic, and despite evidence that access to contraception reduces demand for abortion, local “pro-life” organizations have already spoken out against the reopened clinic.
Martin Leal, the coordinator of Pro-Life Brownsville, told The Monitor, “Anytime a Planned Parenthood opens up I kind of get saddened.”
But for most of the community, the response to the reopening has been positive. According to Planned Parenthood, the clinic is almost at capacity with appointments.
“Many patients report that they had not been to a health provider in the two years since Planned Parenthood closed its doors in Mission,” a statement from the Planned Parenthood AHC said.