Adoption Nonprofit Takes Over Lubbock Planned Parenthood
A Texas adoption agency owner has taken over a former Planned Parenthood clinic in one of the state's most underserved areas in terms of reproductive health care.
A Texas nonprofit group that specializes in adoption and education has expanded its reach to include reproductive health care in Lubbock, the largest city in mostly rural northwest Texas, where access to reproductive health care has decreased dramatically following the state legislature’s severe cuts to family planning funds in 2011.
Generation Healthcare, which has taken over two facilities formerly operated by Planned Parenthood, is an arm of Generation Covenant and Adoption Covenant, which were founded by Lubbock adoption lawyer Merinda Condra. Condra serves as CEO of the newly transferred health clinic, which will not provide abortion care. The Lubbock Planned Parenthood did provide abortions, though it had been struggling financially and would not have been able to continue offering abortions under provisions of HB 2.
Condra told Rewire that her group is responding to the “huge need” for reproductive health care in the area. “Really what we wanted to do is make sure that the basic women’s heath services continued in this area,” said Condra. “We have a huge need for those services, and we were concerned that they were going to be discontinued.”
According to the Texas Policy Evaluation Project, which tracks the effects of family planning funding cuts in the state, family planning clinics in Lubbock County served 95 percent fewer Texans in 2012 than they did in 2010, down to just 138 clients last year from 3,094 in 2010.
Condra said her adoption agency operates “as a separate entity” to the health clinic, and that while “certainly everyone at the clinic is educated about adoption, there will be no adoption agency staff on site at the clinic, or vice versa.”
Condra said she plans to eventually employ up to 20 full-time staff members, up from the four full-time staffers she said were employed at the Planned Parenthood when her group took over the facility last week. She describes Generation’s acquisition of the facility as a transfer, not a buy-out.
One of the full-time staffers at the newly managed facility, Condra said, will be a full-time counselor who can “try to help address any issues that might be going on, whether or not they’re directly related to the health issues,” as well as a “benefits counselor” who will be “knowledgeable about all the services available in the community,” including food pantries and “clothing closets.”
Seeking to distance herself from political conversations about abortion, Condra told EverythingLubbock.com earlier this week, “We’re not a political organization. We’re not an abortion—pro or against—organization.”
Condra said one of her clinic’s first priorities is to begin seeing clients as part of the new Texas Women’s Health Program (TWHP). Enrollment in the TWHP, a replacement for the Medicaid Women’s Health Program that Texas discontinued so that it could block Planned Parenthood from providing reproductive health services to low-income Texans, has so far dropped by more than a quarter in the program’s first year.