Houston Facility is Planned Parenthood's Newest And Biggest

Just off the Gulf Freeway, near the University of Houston, there's a business that's been open just a week, but has had protestors outside the door since day one. That's because it's Planned Parenthood's newest and biggest clinic. Yesterday it opened its doors to patients for the first time and not everyone was happy about it. Bill Stamps has more.
The clash between pro life and pro choice believers has been going on ever since Roe vs. Wade made abortions legal in the U.S back in 1973. Since then Americans have grown accustomed to seeing and reading about abortion protests taking place outside abortion clinics. And so that was the scene this morning as Planned Parenthood began seeing patients at its newest and biggest facility.

Dorothy Richard held a sign hoping to send a message to women.

"There's so many other ways. There's so many options for help. They don't have to do this and suffer for the rest of their lives for the loss of their child."

Steve Lopez was out there as well. About a dozen people total either held signs or just stood and prayed. Richardson says this struggle reminds him of the fight against slavery.

"If you look back at what the abolitionists did cause they were trying to abolish slavery, I'm an abolitionist too. I'm trying to abolish abortion. They went into schools and churches and they reached the hearts and the minds of the people."

A lot has been made of this being Planned Parenthood's largest facility in the country. Spokesperson Rochelle Tafoya says that doesn't necessarily mean the facility will perform the most abortions. She says more than 90 percent of the work there has nothing to do with abortions.

"The vast majority of what we do is about prevention and helping people live a healthier life and just get their checkups and make sure they can prevent an unintended pregnancy if that is a goal."

Tafoya says women and men go to Planned Parenthood for all sorts of reasons. Things like being tested for sexually transmitted diseases or getting information about birth control. Still it's the abortion side of things that gets all the publicity. Tafoya says moving into the new facility was more about the need for more operating space than space to perform abortions.

"We had been there for over forty-years. We had over 90 thousand visits last year. Our reception areas were bursting at the seams and we needed a new facility. People in Houston don't have health insurance. They need affordable health care. This facility is larger and will allow more people to come here. "


None of that matters much to the people standing outside holding signs. For them, even one abortion is one too many. And so for now it appears nothing will changeā€¦as both sides will continue to do what they believe is best for women.

For more information about the new location, visit www.plannedparenthood.org/pphset/moving.htm.