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Published: Wednesday, December 21, 2011, 11:19 p.m.

Planned Parenthood closing Oak Harbor clinic

The Whidbey Island clinic is one of three the women's health provider is closing in the state.

Planned Parenthood's clinic in Oak Harbor, which offers breast and cervical exams, contraceptives and HIV testing, but no surgical abortions, is closing next week.
That ends a 26-year run on Whidbey Island for the nonprofit that provides women's services. The clinic, at 3159 N. Goldie Road, is one of three being closed in Western Washington by Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest. The other clinics are in Forks in Clallam County and Silverdale in Kitsap County.
The Oak Harbor clinic, which operated three days a week, served a little more than 1,000 patients, said Kristen Glundberg-Prossor, a Planned Parenthood spokeswoman.
While surgical abortions were not performed at the site, women could prevent a pregnancy by getting from the clinic RU 486, the so-called abortion pill.
Its Oak Harbor patients are being referred to local clinics on Whidbey Island or to Planned Parenthood's clinic in Mount Vernon, Glundberg-Prossor said.
The group's three clinics in Snohomish County are in Everett, Marysville and Lynnwood.
The organization's larger health care clinics have been subsidizing its smaller clinics for some time, she said.
"Like all organizations, this has been a tough economy, and we've been hanging on," she said. "The result is that with the health clinics with lower volumes, we had to make some decisions."
The Oak Harbor clinic had a three-member staff. "We tried to move people to nearby locations if that was something they wanted to do," she said. One employee transferred to the organization's Everett clinic.
Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest does plan to open one new clinic next year in King County, near one of Swedish Health Services' downtown Seattle campuses.
Plans for the new clinic followed the announcement that Swedish plans to form a new nonprofit health care organization with the Catholic-run Providence Health & Services.
NARAL Pro-Choice Washington said it had concerns over the effect the partnership could have on women's reproductive rights, since a limited number of elective abortions are conducted at Swedish.
Swedish then announced it would help to pay for a new Planned Parenthood clinic in downtown Seattle.
Planned Parenthood originally hoped to open the new clinic in January, but that has now been delayed by about a month, Glundberg-Prossor said. Its exact location has yet to be determined.
"We hope to open in February," she said.
Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486 or salyer@heraldnet.com.
Story tags » Oak HarborHealth organizationsHospitals & ClinicsAbortion

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