July 19, 2016 — Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky (PPINK) is closing two Indiana-based clinics and consolidating four health centers with other clinics, Fox 59 reports.
PPINK closed its Muncie clinic on Friday and will close its Terre Haute location on Wednesday. PPINK will refer patients from Muncie to Open Door Family Planning, an independently owned health clinic in the area.
The PPINK clinic in Valparaiso will merge with the Merillville clinic on July 21; the Fishers clinic will merge with the Eastside clinic on July 26; the Avon clinic will merge with the Southside clinic on Aug. 30; and the East Chicago clinic will merge with the Gary clinic on Dec. 15.
PPINK CEO Betty Cockrum cited improvements in women's health care access as the reason for the change. "It isn't that there's a reduced need for Planned Parenthood with these patients, it's that the patients don't need that from anybody anymore," Cockrum said.
Cockrum said that a change in Pap screening recommendations that calls for screening every three years instead of annually has significantly reduced patient volume across Planned Parenthood clinics in Indiana. She noted, "At our peak, we did 60,000 pap tests in a year and we're now at 6,000."
According to Cockrum, other factors that have reduced demand for Planned Parenthood's services include expanded access to contraceptives under the Affordable Care Act (PL 111-148), an increase in the use of long-acting reversible contraception and the over-the-counter availability of emergency contraception.
Cockrum said PPINK will continue to advocate for further improvements to reproductive health care. "Certainly we'll be out there as a voice for reproductive justice," she said, adding, "We'll always be out there educating, to make sure Hoosiers know how to make good decisions about whether and when to become sexually active, whether or when to become parents" (Allbrittin, Fox 59, 7/15).