ReporterNews (Abilene) External Web Site Policy, (11.15.2012)
After Abilene’s Planned Parenthood Clinic shut its doors on November 8, the Abilene-Taylor County Public Health District has experienced an increase in individuals calling for appointments. According to Nursing Program Supervisor Kay Durilla, patients are “making appointments as quickly as possible.” The clinic had served 2,500 women, of which approximately 1,200 were involved in the Women’s Health Program (WHP). Planned Parenthood cited the loss of funds as the reason behind the clinic’s closure. However, the city’s program intends to continue supporting the WHP, which serves 300 to 400 women yearly, according to Durilla.
The WHP provides family planning, birth control supplies, and related health screening to low-income women. But funding for that program in the state of Texas is likely to end this year. Texas governor Rick Perry has proposed an alternative program called the Texas Women’s Health Program which uses state funding, and the Abilene clinic wants to participate in that program if those plans come to pass.
Abilene’s family planning services are offered at its Sears Clinic, 2250 Ambler, in the Sears Park Building. In addition to the WHP funding, the clinic also accepts Medicaid and cash payments. A nurse practitioner undertakes the medical exams and pap smears on Wednesdays, by appointment only, and prescribes birth control. Counseling is offered as well. This site also houses the Health District’s Sexually Transmitted Disease clinic, which sees individuals by appointment on all days of the week, except for Wednesdays. STD appointments include exams, testing, and education. On average, the health district sees 50 to 60 individuals a month for STD testing. Those interested in family planning or STD testing should call (325)676-6634 for further information.