HUDSON — The local Planned Parenthood opened the doors Tuesday to its new health center on Columbia Street, providing a larger space and more services to clients.
Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood, which serves Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer and Albany counties, opened its new health center 9 a.m. Tuesday at 802 Columbia St. The new center will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursdays.
The Planned Parenthood moved to the new location from 190 Fairview Ave., which closed Feb. 21.
The new center has a reception and waiting areas, four patient rooms, an abortion recovery room, care coordination and counseling offices and a shared teen space and community room.
Planned Parenthood logged 1,291 visits to the old Hudson Health Center in 2018, a 138 percent increase over 2016, said Katherine Bruno, chief experience officer for Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood.
“UHPP is thrilled to open our new health center in downtown Hudson because we are committed to providing a place where patients feel valued and respected and to provide the best care, no matter what,” said Chelly Hegan, president and CEO of Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood. “The improved health center will serve more people in Columbia, Greene and Berkshire counties providing reproductive health care, abortion, transgender care and mental health counseling. This new facility also includes cancer prevention and treatment equipment to expand services.”
A key feature of the new center is its new teen/community room, which will be a shared space for staff meetings, public programs such as teach-ins, healthy parent, child and education programs and will be available for small, local nonprofits to use that do not have funding or resources to host meetings and programs.
“These services are important to our residents here in Hudson as well as the entire county — UHPP being located in the city of Hudson is perfect — providing a more welcoming environment rather than on the Fairview Avenue strip where UHPP had on occasion protestors threatening people’s rights to health care,” said Hudson Fourth Ward Supervisor Linda Mussmann. “Hudson is the perfect location for such important services. We are city that is progressive and diverse. We welcome UHPP to the city of Hudson.”
The move comes as organizations such as Planned Parenthood feel increasing pressure from the White House as President Donald Trump pushes back against abortion rights.
Trump made a point, using a recently signed law in New York, to rally against late-term abortions during his State of the Union address earlier this month. Making good on his address Trump announced Feb. 22 that he will divert federal family planning funds away from organizations that provide referrals to patients for abortions and toward faith-based, anti-abortion groups.
New York passed a new law in January that moved the state’s abortion rights law from the state penal code to its health code, including a provision that allows a health care practitioner to decide to perform an abortion after the 24-week cutoff established in state law if the practitioner determines the baby will not be able to live a viable life, which is not specifically defined in the text of the legislation, or determines an abortion is necessary to protect the mother’s life.
According to the proposed rule coming from Washington, organizations receiving money through the federal family planning program, called Title X, could still perform abortions, but would have to do so in a separate facility from their other operations and adhere to the new requirement that they not refer patients to it.
In New York State, Planned Parenthood serves 52 percent of Title X patients, according to data provided by Planned Parenthood.
In 2017, 187 health centers supported by the Title X program provided care to over 310,000 New Yorkers.
“With the continued attacks from the Trump-Pence Administration it is more important than ever that Planned Parenthood let our patients know that we will continue to provide high-quality, confidential reproductive health care in the communities that need us the most,” Hegan said. “Our health care professionals are committed to delivering honest and complete information to our patients.”
Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood started a five-year capital campaign in January 2018, which was opened to the public in 2018 to get additional support in reaching its $7.2 million goal. Planned Parenthood’s original goal was to raise $5.5 million, but increased that goal to ensure continued access to services in the region.
Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood raised nearly $5 million.
Of the $7.2 million, $5 million will create a Patient Access Fund that will serve as an emergency fund to allow Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood to provide free services if the services are cut from Medicaid coverage and help clients without insurance. The remaining $2.2 million is planned for improvement of health care facilities in Troy and Hudson.