For the last two years, Oakland has been without its own Planned Parenthood, which meant patients had to trek to Walnut Creek, El Cerrito, or San Francisco in order to receive care. But trek no more -- Planned Parenthood has opened its doors in Oakland again.
Planned Parenthood clinics vanished from the East Bay city in late 2010, when Planned Parenthood Golden Gate, one of the regional affiliates of the nationwide service provider, mismanaged funding and eventually filed for bankruptcy. The PPGG-operated Tenderloin clinic was also shut down, and two other affiliates -- Planned Parenthood Shasta Pacific and Planned Parenthood Mar Monte -- decided to absorb the territory.
In January 2011, Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, told SF Weekly she was confident that Shasta Pacific was "going to grow and be able to provide more care to women than the previous affiliate was able to." Shasta Pacific quickly opened a new San Francisco clinic (on Valencia and Mission), but Mar Monte was slow to offer a full-service clinic in Oakland.
Initially, Mar Monte was slated to begin its Oakland presence in Fruitvale, but plans for that clinic never came to fruition. While staff searched for a location, Oakland Local reports that Mar Monte nurses provided on-site assistance and care through other East Bay health service providers, including the Alameda County Women, Infants and Children program, and the HIV Education and Prevention Project of Alameda County.
Finally, Mar Monte settled on a location in West Oakland and now, two years later, the new clinic is open at last. Located on 7th Street at Willow, the clinic is just blocks from the West Oakland BART station, making it accessible to the community.
The West Oakland clinic will offer the usual: pregnancy testing, STD testing and treatment, birth control, and emergency contraception. However, it will not provide abortions, which should keep those rabid protesters at bay. Instead, the new clinic will offer abortion referrals to other Mar Monte locations. And, like all Planned Parenthood locations, this one will serve patients with and without insurance coverage.
The new clinic is good news for San Francisco-based patients, too -- it's just a quick BART ride away, and gives them another option so they can dodge the persistent protesters that have been hanging out in front of the Mission clinic. Supervisor David Campos is planning to enact his buffer zone law that will at least keep those protesters out of the way and across the street.