The Planned Parenthood near Loyola is expected to relocate in Edgewater after it vacates its current space by the end of the year.
Planned Parenthood will move from its current location at 6353 N. Broadway Ave. to 5725 N. Broadway Ave., but an opening date has not been determined yet, according to Julie Lynn, manager of external affairs for Planned Parenthood of Illinois. The new location will be larger and able to accommodate more patients, according to Lynn.
The clinic is being forced to relocate from its space in the historic Woodruff Arcade after the building was sold in 2016. Businesses that lease space within the building were told they must vacate by the end of 2017, The PHOENIX reported. The building was also home to The Coffee Shop, which closed in May, and the Mustard Seed Christian Bookstore.
In the past fiscal year, the Rogers Park location served about 5,000 patients and had more than 7,000 visits. Of those patients, nearly 2,000 were 24 years old or younger, according to Lynn.
This is the only Planned Parenthood location within an 8-mile radius, and it offers medical services including sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing, pregnancy testing, birth control and emergency contraception. This Planned Parenthood clinic provides abortion referrals, but not abortions. The clinic also does screenings for breast cancer and cervical cancer.
Outside of Rogers Park, there are several Planned Parenthood locations in Chicago including in Wicker Park, the Gold Coast, Austin, the Loop and Englewood. Other sexual health clinics in Chicago include the Howard Brown Health Center, which has locations on 4025 N. Sheridan Road and 6500 N. Clark Street, and the Lakeview Specialty Clinic at 2849 N. Clark Street.
Loyola’s Wellness Center offers reproductive health services including STI testing and gynecologic exams. But birth control is only offered for treating medical conditions because the Wellness Center follows the Catholic doctrine against contraception, according to its website. This means students cannot get birth control for the purpose of preventing pregnancy.
But some students said they consider Planned Parenthood as the best option for reproductive health care.
Rising junior political science major Gayatri Tikoo said Planned Parenthood is the safest healthcare option for some students.
“I know multiple people who have had to depend on [Planned Parenthood] because, let’s be honest, Loyola’s Wellness Center isn’t the greatest spot for students to go,” said the 20-year-old. “I know many students who have felt very unsafe and very judged for things like everyday sexual health issues [at the Wellness Center].”
Interim Director of the Wellness Center Joan Holden said students are encouraged to come to the Wellness Center for sexual health issues.
“We welcome conversations about sexual health at the wellness center,” said Holden. “Our providers are happy to give information about it. We provide gynecological exams for women and we also do STI testings and we can also give medications to treat an STI if necessary. We’re happy to talk about sexual health.”
Rising senior biology major Christina Frasik said Planned Parenthood is important because it provides what the Wellness Center does not.
“The Wellness Center does not provide prescriptions for any form of contraception for sexual purposes nor … do they provide sex-positive care, which is just healthcare [that] is communicated in a way that is non-judgemental,” said the 21-year-old.
Frasik is a member of Students for Reproductive Justice (SRJ) at Loyola, a group advocating for reproductive rights on campus. SRJ passed out condoms to students near campus throughout the year and disagreed with Loyola’s policy on contraception.
Frasik said SRJ will continue to push for contraception on campus.
Rising junior Carlee Bettler said while she is glad Planned Parenthood will relocate in the area, she will miss having it next to campus.
“I’ve never been there, but I always liked that it was there just in case I wanted to go there,” said the 20-year-old bioinformatics and French double major. “It was very comforting knowing ‘Oh, it’s down the block.’”
Lynn said she is happy with the role the Planned Parenthood serves in the Rogers Park community.
“We’ve been serving patients in Rogers Park for a really long time and our patients are loyal to us,” said Lynn. “We’re really proud of the work that we do there … it’s a nice community and we’re happy to be a part of it.”