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City board approves Planned Parenthood ‘flagship’ clinic

July 27, 2017
Valerie Schmalz

Despite testimony from pro-life opponents, the San Francisco Planning Commission unanimously approved a Planned Parenthood Northern California proposal for a central “flagship” clinic on Bush Street near Van Ness Avenue.

Operations at the two-story clinic in a former auto body shop at 1522 Bush would include surgical and medical abortions, contraception and other family planning services, STD and HIV care and research and education. The location would provide expanded service to the Tenderloin and Van Ness/Civic Center neighborhoods, Planned Parenthood said, noting that the majority of its clientele is low-income.

CEO Gilda Gonzales said the organization is close to raising $6 million to buy the site, which would open, after renovations, in 2020. It would serve 20 percent more clients than the city’s existing two Planned Parenthood clinics combined. The organization plans to close its other locations and consolidate operations in the new building.

“The ancillary space at the site will be a hub for community engagement and advocacy,” Gonzales said..

Pro-life opponents said the site would be better used for housing.

“San Francisco needs housing. We have world-class health care,” said Terrisa Bukovinac, president of ProLife Future, telling planning commissioners she is an atheist and voted for Hillary Clinton for president.

Bukovinac said the city has 12 qualified clinics for low-income health care, adding,“There are already plenty of abortion providers.”

John Leibee of ProLife Future said the city’s Van Ness corridor plan calls for more residential building. “We want housing,” not another abortion clinic, he said, adding that he supports more small apartments in the walkable neighborhood.

Rich Silva, a 20-year-old music student, also spoke to the commission.

“I come to speak to you as a young person, as a person of color and as a Latino and a member of a family that has for a long time also been struggling with insurance plans and finding the right health care for our family,” he said.

Silva’s mother brought the family to Planned Parenthood for health care for years, he said. “As soon as my mom and I knew what Planned Parenthood really does, ” the family found another health clinic, he said.

Silva also addressed Planned Parenthood workers in the hearing room. “If there is anybody, any Planned Parenthood staff person, who wants to leave their job in the abortion industry, they can go to abortionworker.com and get help,” he said.

Also present in opposition to the clinic were Mary Ann Schwab, Project Rachel coordinator for the Archdiocese of San Francisco, and representatives of Pro-Life Future, United for Life of San Francisco, St. Dominic and Star of the Sea parishes and teens and young adults from the Survivors ProLife Training Camp.

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