The Planned Parenthood Tallahassee health center hosted a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony on Monday to celebrate its new facility.
The opening of this health center is part of a large initiative by Planned Parenthood to expand healthcare access in the southern region of the United States. The Tallahassee community and surrounding area is considered to be some of the most medically underserved parts of Florida.
“We knew that there were a lot of people that needed affordable healthcare and were not getting it. With the STI (sexually transmitted infections) rates it just shows people weren’t getting tested or what they needed,” Communications Director Christina Noce said.
“It (Tallahassee) is a medically underserved community. Looking per capita, there aren’t enough providers for the amount of people in this area. We wanted to be able to serve more people.”
This new center on West Tennessee Street plans to serve four times the number of patients a year in comparison to previous years, estimating over 5,000 annually.
The facility is now open to the public and will offer an array of sexual and reproductive health services. These services include breast exams, cancer screenings, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, human immunodeficiency virus testing, pregnancy testing, birth control and family planning. It does not offer abortions at this time. There is a dedicated branch of the health center intended to provide abortion care to patients in the near future, Noce said.
“Women need all of the options, not just birth control and emergency contraception. They need to be able to come to one place and get all care,” Noce said.
Former CEO and president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and American pro-choice activist, Cecile Richards, was in attendance for the ceremony. She spoke about the excitement of opening the doors to this Planned Parenthood location.
“Folks have been waiting for this for a long time. What we’ve been fighting for at Planned Parenthood is equal access to care and that’s what this is really about,” Richards said.
“I’m sure we’ll all be really emotional today as people are coming in and recognizing what enormous progress this organization has made, a hundred years later opening this state-of-the-art healthcare facility in Tallahassee.”
This health center will not only be a refuge for members of the Tallahassee community but for the surrounding communities as well. Women who live in bordering states such as Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana will be able to receive care from this facility.
“The goal has been all along to really focus on ensuring we have reproductive health equity all across this country and that women shouldn’t be subjected to having access to their constitutional right based off of their ZIP code. But based on the fact that these are fundamental freedoms that women have,” President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Southeast and North, Lillian Tamayo said.
Planned Parenthood, founded in 1916, is a nonprofit organization with centers in almost every state in the country. In recent years Republican lawmakers have threatened to cut off federal funding for Planned Parenthood because it offers abortions among its multiple services.
The center is located at 2618 West Tennessee St. and is open for business most days of the week. For more information, visit plannedparenthood.org.