Planned Parenthood opens center in Ferndale amidst battle over Auburn Hills site (Detroit News)

Published April 3, 2012 by The Detroit News.

By Marisa Schultz of The Detroit News.

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Published: 04.03.12| Updated: 04.24.12

Planned Parenthood Mid and South Michigan opened an Oakland County health center in Ferndale this week in the wake of a court battle that delayed plans for an Auburn Hills clinic.

The new facility, at 23338 Woodward Ave., will offer contraception, annual exams, testing and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, cancer screenings and other preventive services. Abortions will not be performed at the clinic, Planned Parenthood officials say, but anti-abortion demonstrators outside the center marked its opening Monday.

Planned Parenthood Mid and South Michigan now has 17 facilities in the state, serving more than 69,000 patients annually. Abortion services are provided at four health centers; 97 percent of the services are basic preventive health care, leaders say.

Planned Parenthood of West and Northern Michigan operates an additional eight health centers outstate.

Planned Parenthood bought a building in Auburn Hills in 2010 to open a health center. But opposition from some anti-abortion activists and a property dispute landed the issue in court.

An Oakland County Circuit judge ruled in January that Planned Parenthood should be permitted to build a clinic at the Auburn Hills site. Planned Parenthood is still committed to opening a site there to serve northern Oakland County, but the case is tied up in appeal, organizers say.

The developments locally occur in the midst of a state and national push by conservatives to defund Planned Parenthood, and controversy over a new federal policy requiring health insurers to offer contraception coverage.

Despite a tough court battle and a charged political climate, the Ferndale opening reflects the commitment of the organization to serve, said Lori Lamerand, CEO of the Planned Parenthood affiliate.

"We are not just here when things are good," Lamerand said. "We are here no matter what."

Oakland County had no reproductive health care facility that serves patients on a sliding fee scale, organizers say. Planned Parenthood officials say the reception from the Ferndale community has been very welcoming.

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