By Skyler Lee
The Planned Parenthood in Wilkes-Barre Pennsylvania has maintained its location for years, but with plans to begin performing abortions, that is soon going to change.
Planned Parenthood has leased the annex building at 63 N. Franklin St. next to the Angeline Elizabeth Kirby Memorial Health Center for 84 years.
However, after the clinic told the Kirby board they were considering performing abortions, the board has decided to not renew Planned Parenthood’s lease. Consequently, the clinic’s lease is set to expire at the end of the year.
“We informed the board that we were exploring adding safe, legal abortion services to the suite of options available at the Wilkes-Barre health center because there is a growing need for this reproductive care regionally,” Casey Roncoroni, senior director of development for Planned Parenthood Keystone, said.
Up until now, the Wilkes-Barre Planned Parenthood has always referred women seeking abortions to the closest provider in Allentown, one of 17 abortion providers in Pennsylvania, rather than performing them there.
In response to the decision, attorney and Vice President of the Kirby Health Center Board, Brian Caverly stated, “All I can tell you is we are simply exercising the legal rights we have under the lease and under the circumstances."
The move is something Pennsylvanians for Human Life, also located in Wilkes-Barre for the past 31 years, is celebrating, hoping girls will instead visit their location at 31 Hanover Street where they provide help and services to expecting mothers in need for free.
“You can come to us for help,” Betty Caffrey, president of the pro-life organization Pennsylvanians for Human Life Wyoming Valley Chapter, said. “You don’t have to kill your baby. We never had one girl ever in 31 years who was sorry she had a baby.”
The Wilkes-Barre Planned Parenthood is now searching for a new home and explained they will re-evaluate whether they will begin providing abortions when they secure a new location.
However, even securing that new location will be difficult as the clinic faces increased pressure from pro-life groups like Pennsylvanians for Human Life.
“If Planned Parenthood is still looking to do abortions in Wilkes-Barre, we will do everything we can to keep them out. We will monitor wherever they go and do what we did before. We will let realtors know that they’re looking for a place for a killing center,” Caffrey explained. “If they are going to do surgical abortions, the people in the city have to be up in arms about it. I don’t know any doctors in this area who will perform them.”
For the past 84 years, the Wilkes-Barre Planned Parenthood previously only provided women’s healthcare services. If it’s worked for 84 years why switch services now? It could be due to funds.
“The cost of an abortion is at least $400," Caffrey said.
Here’s hoping the clinic will realize the value of human life and decide against performing, or even referring for, abortions at its next location.