Planned Parenthood Health Center held its grand opening in West Hollywood today, making it the 20th location in Los Angeles. Sue Dunlap, CEO of Planned Parenthood Los Angeles, helmed a press conference at the new clinic on San Vicente.
In the wake of the killings in Colorado, security was heightened at the press conference. "When we first conceptualized this press conference, this opening of our 20th health center here in Los Angeles, we imagined a celebration. Instead what I offer you is a testament to all of the women, the men, the doctors and the the providers of Planned Parenthood, and providers all across the country–these doors stay open. Our work is not stopping."
Despite the heightened security there was much to celebrate, including the partnership between Planned Parenthood Los Angeles and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. The hospital will partner with Planned Parenthood to collaborate on research and train clinicians, said Art Ochoa, Sr. VP of Community Relations. "Cedar-Sinai is proud to stand with Planned Parenthood Los Angeles and thousands of women, men, and teens who rely on these centers for healthcare each and every year. Working hand-in-hand, we will protect and advance access to high quality reproductive health care," said Ochoa.
The opening of the center coincided with World Aids Day. Though the parallel is not explicitly planned, Dunlap was proud to announce that the center would begin offering Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) to patients in 2016. The medicines will aid in in preventing the spread of HIV.
The clinic had a "soft opening" in the summer, providing limited services, but will ultimately provide a full range reproductive healthcare including gynecological exams, cancer screenings, STD testing and treatments, as well as contraceotion and abortion.
Dunlap said they were responding to an ever increasing demand in the community. On a busy day, the receive more than 2,000 calls. They receive 1,000 visits, about half of which, are walk-in visits. "Our demand is higher than we can meet," Dunlap said in a press conference.
Despite threats to safety, Dunlap was firm in her commitment to the organization's mission. "Our number one message is these doors stay open and we're here to provide safe quality care, no matter what."