Local Residents Upset with New Planned Parenthood complex in West Fort Worth

By Dave Andrusko

Secrecy surrounding the construction of Planned Parenthood facilities is nothing new. But that doesn’t make it any the less infuriating when local pro-lifers learned that Planned Parenthood of North Texas was breaking ground in southwest Fort Worth, Texas, on a $6.5 million abortion complex. According to its website, the planned 19,000 square foot complex will be triple the size of the facility it is replacing.

Once word leaked out, Ken Lambrecht, president of Planned Parenthood of North Texas, conceded that only a few people knew about what was being built and that one subcontractor had quit. He told reporters that construction on the center started a few weeks ago. The new facility is located next to the Edna Gladney Adoption Center.

“Lambrecht said Planned Parenthood helped provide more than 6,000 abortions in North Texas in 2010,” according WFAA TV in Dallas-Ft. Worth.

The new complex is part of a five-year plan to “refurbish, relocate and improve 21 health centers,” Lambrecht told the Star-Telegram newspaper. The facility “is being funded by the organization’s $21.5 million capital campaign, which started in 2009.”

Local religious leaders were adamant in their opposition.

“One part of my thinking says it’s like building a strip club across from a cathedral, kind of in your face,” said Rev. Al Merredith of Wedgewood Baptist Church.

Michael Dean, senior pastor at Travis Avenue Baptist Church, said, “Our concern is this will become a megacenter for Planned Parenthood,” adding, “Our prayer would be that they do not perform abortions at this facility.”

That prayer, unfortunately, does not comport with Planned Parenthood of North Texas’s plans. While Lambrecht minimized the amount of business abortion will comprise, he “would not address the issue of late term abortions at the new facility,” according to the local fox news channel.

What’s taking place in Ft. Worth is part of a larger narrative. In many articles National Right to Life News has laid out how, across the country, Planned Parenthood affiliates are merging, closing down smaller, less profitable (often non-abortion performing) clinics, cutting expensive middle management, and building giant new mega-clinics that can do an increased volume of abortions, one of Planned Parenthood’s most profitable products (see NRL News, January 2011).

Last year there were headline about the funding cuts and several clinics closing in Texas. The reader could easily have gotten the impression that Planned Parenthood might be closing its doors, packing its bags, and leaving town.  Yet on the heels of that news came the announcement of a new $21.5 million capital campaign by Planned Parenthood of North Texas (PPNT).

And the centerpiece was a new $6.5 million “health center and administrative office” in Fort Worth, although its location was a closely guarded secret.

Last December Dr. Randall K. O’Bannon, NRLC’s Director of Education, reviewed the promotional materials and wrote a fascinating article. He concluded his story by noting

When and where this new clinic and administrative center will be built, we do not know at this point.  But we have seen how that PPNT has shaved off some of its smaller, non abortion performing clinics, is looking for new, “more accessible locations,” and has mounted a new multimillion dollar campaign featuring a big new clinic and administrative office.

Planned Parenthood of North Texas isn’t closing its doors.  It’s planning on expanding its business.

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