A newly constructed clinic will offer the fast-growing West Side of San Antonio more access to health care, including women’s reproductive care.
The new Planned Parenthood South Texas (PPST) health care center provides fertility care, diabetes and hypertension care, preventative care, sexually transmitted infection tests and cancer screenings, in a timely way, said President and CEO Laura Terrill.
The $2 million clinic, funded by Planned Parenthood donors, will significantly cut wait times for patients to see a provider and address specific needs for women’s health, she said. The center, located near the junction of Loop 410 and State Highway 151 at 235 Richland Hills Dr., is expected to serve 4,000 patients of all genders each year.
“We are the fastest growing district in the state,” City Councilwoman Melissa Cabello Havrda (D6) said. “[Planned Parenthood South Texas] really understood that, came to where the need was, and we appreciate that.”
Employees wore serape colors and patterns to match a serape print on the building. The serape is significant in Mexican American culture and derives from Aztec belief that wearing bright colors warded off evil spirits.
Although abortion has been outlawed in Texas, Planned Parenthood South Texas continues to provide other reproductive health services.
“We’ve been under attack for a long, long time and the commitment from our donors and the trust that we have with our patients is the antidote to despair and the hopelessness that we can sometimes feel when we’re facing the opposition,” Terrill said.
There was a police presence protecting guests, employees and city officials who gathered outside the new clinic’s entrance for a ribbon cutting ceremony Wednesday.
“Access to reproductive health care, which is a basic human right, belongs here on the West Side of San Antonio,” San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg said. “Last year alone, [PPST] saw 25,000 Texans. That tells you the critical work that’s going on in this facility.”
Nirenberg said that while hostile winds are blowing in Austin and across the country, the City of San Antonio will “continue to fight to make sure people have access to the care they deserve,” he said.
The 3,000-square-foot facility houses three exam rooms and a consultation room, and will soon have an education and training center for staff, volunteers, community groups and organizations. There, Planned Parenthood will provide sexual and reproductive health education, including childbirth, parent pregnancy and menopause education.
There is also a garden named for Jeffrey Hons, who was PPST’s CEO for 22 years.
Terrill said the new clinic’s location, just 2 miles away from the previous location on Marbach Road, was a result of conversations with the community and data that reflected a gap between the health care needs of the community and available providers.
The main concern from community members, Terrill said, was longer wait times to see health care providers.
“Oftentimes, it takes many weeks to get an initial appointment with a provider in the community,” Terrill said. “And that’s just for the initial screening.
“I know of a patient who was on the precipice of a mental health crisis … and she was being told that it would be six weeks before a provider could see her.”
A Planned Parenthood clinic was able to see the patient the day after she called, Terrill said.