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Dear PPST Supporters,
For years we have worked together in partnership—the staff, volunteers and donors at Planned Parenthood South Texas—to provide the health care and information people need to plan their families and their futures. We have faced external challenges to our work, from detractors on our sidewalk to anti-choice lawmakers in government. We have endured these challenges and proved ourselves to be strong, innovative, resilient, just plain tough. Whatever it is that builds and defines grit, we have it. No doubt about it. 
Today’s challenge is different—a highly contagious airborne respiratory illness that has reached pandemic proportions in a period of some ten weeks. Yet I believe our compassion for our patients, our grit and our ability to marshal muscle amidst adversity will serve us well in this crisis, too. 
Care continues at Planned Parenthood South Texas. While volume is falling at all sorts of businesses and providers, numbers in our health centers remain undiminished. This is proven in analysis of our visit volume year-to-date through Friday, March 13. Why? Because people know now is not the time to miss a Depo Provera shot or allow an oral contraception prescription to run out. If someone wasn’t trying to get pregnant before this pandemic emerged, I can’t imagine someone would want to change those plans and become pregnant right now. If you contemplate the strain that will come upon the nation’s health care system in the weeks and months to come, it is obvious that an unintended pregnancy at this moment presents more challenge than it would otherwise. I don’t have any study to cite, but my gut and my experience tell me that contraception and abortion care are needed now more than ever. 
Our ability to care for patients rests on our ability to care for our staff, so we are taking precautions at our health centers to protect everyone. We’ve posted signs with instructions at our entrances, we’ve adopted screening criteria, we have isolation protocols in place, and we have special equipment. It appears we will be dealing with this for a few months; therefore, all our efforts are being designed with duration and sustainability in mind. I realize that this challenge will increase, as will the pressures on our operation. I realize that things will be different in a few weeks, and so our operation will adjust in response. I am anticipating what we will need to do when that happens. We are realistic. We are responsible. We are alert. 
Alongside the changes we are making, internally, to our health care operation, we are making changes to our community engagement activities. We understand the public health concerns and the objective to flatten the curve of contagion and caseload. Therefore, all public events, including our Annual Luncheon scheduled for May 8, have been put on pause. We will have more news about possible re-scheduling in the weeks to come.  
We would not be who we are, as an organization, were it not for all you’ve done to support us over the years. The financial assistance we provide to our clients—because of you—is all the more necessary as our patients feel the economic impacts of this pandemic. Our partnership with you is an honor that humbles me in ways I cannot fully describe. Please know that the staff and volunteers at Planned Parenthood South Texas appreciate you and all you do for us. 

Jeffrey Hons 
In This Together.
Pronouns: he, him, his

President & Chief Executive Officer

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