The Virginia League for Planned Parenthood is not backing down in wake of the Kavanaugh nomination.
“At this point we’re not really talking about the implications of the nomination when it comes to our health center,” said Alexsis Rodgers, Director Of Communications at Planned Parenthood. “Our doors will continue to be open regardless of the political climate.”
The Virginia League for Planned Parenthood has announced it will be opening new doors at a second Richmond location on the East End. A third of the Hamilton St. location’s patients currently travel from the East End to receive care, and this new location will meet the need of the East End community without the hour-long commute.
“One of the unique things about the Virginia League for Planned Parenthood is that in addition to the core reproductive health services most people associate with Planned Parenthood — so birth control, annual exams STI screenings — we’ve been offering full spectrum primary care at our Hamilton St location and we are pretty much at capacity,” said Medical Director Dr. Shanthi Ramesh.
The new location has the potential to triple their visits.
“[Planned Parenthood hopes to] be open and welcoming to people who live in the East End community. That means having staff who live there working at that health center, as well as seeing patients of all ages and all sorts of gender identities for variant services. And doing some community education and advocacy work,” said Dr. Ramesh.
Dr. Ramesh said the response from the community has been an excited one. The Virginia League for Planned Parenthood has partnered with community groups and providers who are working in the East End in order to examine the needs of the community.
“We want to know how we can help fill in gaps where they exist,” Dr. Ramesh said.
One of the arguments conservatives use against Planned Parenthood is falsely labeling them as solely-abortion clinics, and calling out their placement in predominantly black communities as encouraging the abortion of non-white babies. Planned Parenthood’s founder, Margaret Sanger, has been tagged with this claim at times.
In terms of the East End location, Dr. Ramesh provided a statement from Planned Parenthood on the truth of the situation.
“I think Planned Parenthood is committed to communities of color,” said Dr. Ramesh. “That includes both the patients we serve and the people we hire and how we see our place in sort of the larger spectrum of health care.”
The East End location was planned to provide accessible health care to the community.
“I think when we know that about a third of our patients are already traveling from the East End, being able to be in the community and really be a part of that community is ideal,” said Dr. Ramesh.
“We don’t envision ourselves sort of plopping the health center down,” Dr. Ramesh added. “We’ve really been careful in the planning process and so we can learn how we can integrate into the East End community to have this be a more holistic, two-sided relationship between the East End community and our health center.”
In the fight for accessible and inclusive health care, the Virginia League for Planned Parenthood will continue to provide reproductive health and primary care services across the Commonwealth.