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Planned Parenthood 'soft opens' Ontario clinic for staff training

Planned Parenthood will reopen the Ontario clinic briefly from March 21-23. They expect the official opening date to be sometime in spring 2023.

ONTARIO, Ore. — Planned Parenthood opened a new clinic in Ontario, Oregon Thursday for what the organization calls a 'soft opening.' The clinic was also open Friday to take in patients and provide healthcare services.

The opening is to provide staff with experience treating patients and running a clinic, a Planned Parenthood spokesperson told KTVB. All members on staff are certified to work in their designated position.

KTVB reported in April 2022 Planned Parenthood had started leasing a building in Ontario. The clinic is a 45-minute drive from Boise, where the Idaho State Legislature banned abortion in most cases except for a rape reported to police, a case of incest, or a doctor’s decision to save the mother's life.

KTVB previously reported concerns among doctors about the grey area of these exceptions which could lead to an unintended illegal abortion.

The Ontario clinic would provide abortions in an area that otherwise is without; the nearest legal abortion provider to Boise is a four-hour drive to Walla Walla, Washington, according to Planned Parenthood's website.

Self described life-affirming healthcare clinic, Stanton Healthcare, parked their mobile clinic outside Planned Parenthood's Ontario site through the 'soft open.' Stanton does not provide abortions; they offer resources, including an 18-month program, to incentive mothers to keep their pregnancy.

Stanton does not charge for any of their services, according to Stanton Director of Community Outreach Linda Thomas. The clinic is funded through private donations. The demand for their services increased 25% since the United States Supreme Court returned the right to regulate abortions back to the states through the Dobbs Decision.

"The culture thinks that unless you are in the perfect circumstances with a planned pregnancy, abortion is the only solution, and it's not. It's not the only solution," Thomas said. "So, of course we're going to be here. That's why we have our mobile clinic. So, we can be where we are needed."

Clients at Stanton previously had abortion pushed onto them by Planned Parenthood clinics, according to Thomas. However, Planned Parenthood argues that is not how their clinics and staff help patients through an unexpected pregnancy.

"As part of their appointment, patients talk with their providers and are presented with all of their options. We trust our patients to make the best decisions for themselves, their circumstances and their families," Planned Parenthood Great Northwest Hawai‘i, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky (PPGNHAIK) wrote KTVB in a statement in February.

PPGNHAIK CEO Rebecca Gibron confirmed to KTVB in February their patients are leaving Idaho to receive abortions.

A bill in the Idaho State Legislature aims to prevent people from driving minors across Idaho state borders to receive an abortion without the consent of their parents or legal guardians. The proposed law - House Bill 242 (HB 242) - passed the House behind a 57-12 vote.

"Most young people do involve their parents in a decision like this. We are talking about young people who are in extreme circumstance who cannot involve their parents. To put criminal sanctions in place to punish not only the person seeking access to health care, but also those who are trying to help them is not going to solve these issues," Gibron said in February. "Extreme lawmakers in Idaho are in a race to the bottom across this country."

Planned Parenthood will reopen the Ontario clinic briefly from March 21-23. They expect the official opening date to be sometime in spring 2023.

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