Planned Parenthood Opens its Doors Near UT Austin
AUSTIN – Planned Parenthood’s new clinic opened for business when University of Texas at Austin students returned from winter break. It is located on Medical Arts Street off Dean Keeton, right across the street from UT Austin.
The new location is their fourth clinic in Austin, with other locations on Ben White in south Austin and Research Boulevard in north Austin. Their clinic on East Seventh Street is temporarily closed for renovations.
“We wanted to open a third location… so that we could serve the patients that are used to coming to us over at the East side location,” said Autumn Keiser, Director of Marketing and Communications for Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas. “But we’re so excited to be this close to UT and in the UT community.”
Despite being close to UT Austin, students won’t see Planned Parenthood providing direct outreach on campus due to Senate Bill 22. The bill went into effect in September, which prevents an abortion provider from working with taxpayer funded entities like UT Austin.
“We are not allowed to provide services or to provide outreach or advocacy directly as an organization on public campuses like UT,” Keiser said. “Including community college campuses as well, local school district campuses, that sort of thing.”
The bill aimed to add onto previous Texas legislation that cut state funding to Planned Parenthood in 2011. When the senate bill went into effect in September, Austin City Council approved $150,000 for abortion access on September 10th. The funds would help provide services such as transportation and childcare to women seeking an abortion.
Without state funding, Planned Parenthood gets their money through other means. Private donors and private foundations help fund their services. They also rely on patient revenue.
“If you have private health insurance and you come in and use services at Planned Parenthood, that’s a great way to support us,” Keiser said. “You can of course also make a donation to support us.”
UT Students for Planned Parenthood attended the Texas Legislative session when the senate bill passed in April. They do advocacy and outreach for Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas and Planned Parenthood. They aim to change the conversation around reproductive health. Their President Mireya Trevino says it’s now up to them to help connect students to Planned Parenthood services.
“It’s us out here tabling and talking about reproductive health,” Trevino said. “And it’s unfortunate because we’re college students… this should not be our job, but it falls to us.”
The organization talks to students on Speedway and uses social media. They told students about the new Planned Parenthood near campus within a block walk from West Campus. They went door to door, handing students pamphlets or putting them on door hangers. Keiser says it’s a challenge for Planned Parenthood not being able to directly talk to students themselves.
“But providing healthcare services continues on and…the core of our mission…has not been impacted at all here in Austin,” Keiser said.
Students can go to the new Planned Parenthood for routine health care such as STI testing and treatment, breast cancer screening and to receive birth control.