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How Oregon’s new Planned Parenthood leaders are working to meet increasing need for reproductive health services
How Oregon’s new Planned Parenthood leaders are working to meet increasing need for reproductive health services
How Oregon’s new Planned Parenthood leaders are working to meet increasing need for reproductive health services

Published on: 05/18/2024

This news was posted by Oregon Today News

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FILE: Offices of Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette, in Portland, Ore., April 14, 2022.

Oregon’s two Planned Parenthood affiliates both welcomed new CEOs recently.

Dr. Sara Kennedy will oversee Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette, which operates clinics in Vancouver, Washington, the Portland metro area, Salem, Bend and Ontario. Amy Handler will oversee Planned Parenthood of Southwestern Oregon, which has clinics in the Eugene-Springfield area, Grants Pass and Medford.

They’re taking over at a time when nearly half of U.S. states, including Idaho, have passed laws restricting access to abortion and other reproductive health services after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022.

“Think Out Loud” host Dave Miller recently spoke to Kennedy and Handler about how Oregon’s Planned Parenthood network is responding. The following excerpts from that interview have been edited for length and clarity.

Dr. Sara Kennedy, shown here in an undated provided photo, recently took over as CEO of Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette.

How they’re serving out-of-state patients post-Dobbs decision

Sara Kennedy: “Since August of 2022, we’ve seen a 1,200% increase in people from Idaho traveling across the state to get care with us… We intentionally, within 12 months of Dobbs, opened up this health center in Ontario, Oregon, with the knowledge that we were going to have to be the caretakers of the state of Idaho.”

Amy Handler: “Actually, even before Dobbs… it only took 10 days after SB8 passed for us to see our first patient from Texas in Medford… That was a family — they showed up with three kids in the backseat and they were like, ‘You were the next available [appointment.] We’re here.’”

SK: “No matter what, Oregon is here to take care of folks within Oregon, Southwest Washington, as well as beyond.”

AH: “We just need to be prepared — at least Oregon, more broadly — to see patients that are in extreme circumstances.”

How they’re preparing for a Supreme Court ruling on abortion medication mifepristone

AH: “All of the attorneys general on the West Coast, from Washington, Oregon and California, have said they will protect us in all scenarios… I think they’re looking at this as a highly unlikely scenario. And we’ve prepared in terms of, we have mifepristone stockpiled in the state, and I think our attorneys general would be looking at any way to fight the case.”

SK: “I want people to know that no matter what — there’s so many scenarios of how this could all play out — Planned Parenthood in Oregon will always provide medication abortion, and it will always be legal, safe and effective here in the state of Oregon.”

Amy Handler, shown here in an undated provided photo, recently took over as CEO of Planned Parenthood of Southwestern Oregon.

How they’re planning to expand across Oregon

AH: “We’re definitely thinking about the coastal communities and how we can grow our telehealth program as a first touchpoint for folks before they come in for their first visit.”

SK: “I look at the state of Oregon and I just see so much opportunity. We only have this one, lone Eastern Oregon health center and we know that there’s a huge number of communities and rural folks who need our care… It takes about a year or two for an organization to plan and make sure that we’re doing this thoughtfully. So we’re a good year or two out [from new clinics opening.]”

PPCW CEO Sara Kennedy and PPSO CEO Amy Handler spoke to “Think Out Loud” host Dave Miller. Click play to listen to the full conversation:

News Source : https://www.opb.org/article/2024/05/18/oregon-new-planned-parenthood-leaders-think-out-loud-interview-abortion-rulings/

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