Planned Parenthood opened a health clinic in Dubuque on Thursday, and while officials say abortions will not be performed there, the clinic is being ringed by anti-abortion protesters.
Ellen Markham, a volunteer with Dubuque County Right to Life, carried a picket sign in the rain."Planned Parenthood is not the health care agency that they say they are. Their whole businesses is to promote abortion," Markham says.
Joe Lock, executive director for Planned Parenthood of East Central Iowa, says the clinic will offer birth control, cancer screening and education for men and women. Lock says, "We will be providing various kinds of contraception, including oral contraceptives, condoms, the patch, the ring, Depro Provera."
He says the center will offer neither abortions nor RU-486, the so-called abortion pill. Lock acknowledges the anti-abortion group has spent several weeks fighting to keep the clinic from opening in Dubuque.
"We’re not here to have a fight," Lock says, "we’re here to open a new health center and provide services to women and men that need it and do so in a low cost or no cost fashion."
Markham says she and other members of Dubuque County Right to Life will stand outside the clinic, rain or shine, as long as it’s open for business. Markham says, "Oh, no, nothing will stop us." Planned Parenthood did not allow the media inside the new clinic as Lock says there are still finishing touches to be made. The organization plans to hold an invitation-only open house next month.