Planned parenthood cuts ribbon on new Ferndale clinic (Detroit Free Press)

Published April 3, 2012 by Detroit Free Press.

By Megha Satyanarayana, Detroit Free Press Staff Writer.

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Published: 04.03.12| Updated: 04.24.12

About 50 people, from health care providers to politicians, gathered today at the ribbon-cutting of the new Planned Parenthood clinic in Ferndale.

The clinic officially opened Monday to a short protest by anti-abortion activists who have been trying to stop the health care provider from setting up shop in Auburn Hills. Protesters were largely absent at today's ceremony.

While the Ferndale clinic will not perform abortions, Planned Parenthood Mid and South Michigan CEO Lori Lamerand said the clinic will provide pap smears and birth control and HIV and STD testing and services for the LGBT community through hormone therapies for transgender individuals and eventually, intrauterine insemination.

"This health clinic is going to be our debut in fully trying to welcome the LGBT community," Lamerand said, before taking the celebration to Affirmations, the Ferndale LGBT community center.

At the ribbon-cutting were local, state and federal elected officials, who toured the five-room clinic, complete with an in-house testing facility. Ferndale city officials said there was little debate about welcoming the clinic to town, and said that protesters were not a big deal. Rep. Gary Peters said the new clinic was a welcome addition to a county lacking low-cost and sliding-scale health care providers. The state approached Planned Parenthood about opening a clinic in Oakland County after realizing there was a need for lower-cost services in the county.

"Right now, women need to travel for basic health care services," he said. "It's unfortunate that there is this misinformation about the primary role of Planned Parenthood."

Lamerand said the opening of the Ferndale clinic did not mean they were giving up on their Auburn Hills clinic. That clinic is mired in litigation, prompted by some of the same anti-abortion activists who Lamerand said carried graphic signs and marched the median and sidewalk along the Woodward Avenue location on Monday. After an Oakland County Circuit Court judge ruled in favor of Planned Parenthood building their clinic on Opdyke Road, the decision has been appealed by the lawyers for a hotel located behind the proposed clinic. They argue that a medical office is not allowed under an agreement signed between the hotel owner and land owner when the land was sold more than a decade ago. It is not clear if abortions will be performed in Auburn Hills.

"It's not gone off our radar. We'll keep winning and they'll just keep appealing," Lamerand said. "We see Oakland County as pivotal on a whole bunch of fronts."

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