BRYAN, Texas—Planned parenthood in Bryan closed its doors for good Thursday, but opponents of the center said women are left with plenty of other choices for their health care needs.
Coalition for Life members were standing in front of the center in the 4000 block of East 29th, praying for patients and staff. Cynthia Vargas said she’s been with the Coalition for a little over a year, and the closure couldn’t come soon enough.
“There’s still work to be done,” said Vargas. “Our community needs us together right now.”
Rochelle Tafolla with Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast said they’re closing the center because of continued and targeted cuts to family planning.
She said it started when the budget for the Family Planning Network was drastically cut. Soon after, Tafolla said they were further hindered when the Women’s Health Program in Texas came to an end.
“And those two programs provided the vast majority of access for women in east Texas to get basic health care,” said Tafolla. “Well-Woman exams, birth control and cervical cancer screenings.”
Tafolla said it’s the City of Bryan and surrounding communities that will suffer from the closing.
“The big deal is that women have relied on Planned Parenthood. They’ve come to trust us,” said Tafolla. “They know that they can get nonjudgmental, unbiased information from us. They know that we are affordable, and they know that they can get into us whenever they need to.”
Tafolla said it will be much more difficult for women to get access to their kind of help.
Bobby Reynoso with the Coalition for Life said that’s just not true.
“The reality is that there are 67 other health care communities in the county that have a much higher standard than planned parenthood does, that do not offer abortion services,” said Reynoso.
Reynoso said their chief concern is the safety of women and their unborn children. He said the recent passage of new restrictions for abortion clinics was the right thing to do.
“There’s always a mortality when an abortion happens,” said Reynoso. “And there’s also a chance that the woman can die to. So increasing the health standards to make sure there are no fatalities to the women is just a common sense thing.”
The Planned Parenthood centers in Huntsville and Lufkin also closed their doors for good on Thursday.