Planned Parenthood makes “history,” opens Oklahoma City abortion-performing clinic

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WARR ACRES, Okla. - Planned Parenthood calls it "history." Opponents call it "hurtful."

A new clinic, now open on N.W. 63rd, will provide abortions to patients.

"We were deeply committed to expanding access to this critical component of sexual and reproductive healthcare in Oklahoma City," said Laura McQuade, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Plains. "We are thrilled to be able to provide more options both in terms of locations as well as the services that we provide."

Planned Parenthood has been working on opening the facility since July, when the Great Plains and Central Oklahoma divisions merged.

The "full-service facility" plans to target minorities, patients on Medicaid and other people who tend to have a difficult time securing services.

The new clinic also provides cancer screenings, annual exams and birth control, among other things, but McQuade said it's taken months to jump through the required hoops to secure an abortion permit.

"As you can imagine, Oklahoma is not a friendly place to provide abortion services," she said. "We have been weathering the political storms that come with the provision of abortion services that we provide, and we just feel that that is a reality in Oklahoma and we go about business of providing the care we know communities need."

In a press release, Planned Parenthood said the Warr Acres facility is the organizations "first dedicated abortion provider in the state of Oklahoma in the [80-year] history of the organization."

In September, the Trust Women Foundation opened a facility on Oklahoma City's south side.

Protesters have gathered outside the facility almost daily.

"We believe in life, and we believe abortion is killing innocent children," said Bing Martin, who shows up to voice opposition weekly. "When you're talking about taking someone's life, then you're talking about taking everything from them. I don't think that people should have a choice to murder children."

Less than an hour after Planned Parenthood's announcement, word had already spread to abortion opponents, who said they plan to continue their demonstrations at the new facility.

"We'll we let God guide us, and God tells us we need to keep going," said Martin, asked if another facility discouraged him. "We just redouble our efforts. It's just something you need to keep fighting."

But, abortion providers said they are doubling down too, ready for a fight and to team up with Trust Women to oppose any legislation that may cut into their rights.

"We are under no illusions," McQuade said. "People will come after Planned Parenthood one way or another. In a state like Oklahoma, however, they have been coming after us for a long time, but we are still here, and we are still providing services."

McQuade could not estimate the number of abortions that would be performed at the facility but said about 10 percent of all services in the Great Plains clinics are abortion related.

Seventy percent of the organization's funding comes from private commercial insurance, exchange insurance, Medicaid and Medicare, McQuade said.