More than 7,000 people received health care from Akron’s Planned Parenthood clinic last year — and not one of them got an abortion there.
Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio provided the Akron-specific numbers on Friday, a day after the U.S. Senate voted to roll back an order by former President Barack Obama that blocked states from pulling funding for organizations that offer abortion services.
Akron’s clinic at 444 W. Exchange St. does not perform abortions, but it refers patients to clinics within the organization that do perform them. Of 27 Planned Parenthood clinics in Ohio, only three perform abortions. A spokeswoman on Friday could not provide details about how many abortions were performed at the organization’s clinics last year, and fact sheets provided to the Beacon Journal did not include abortion numbers.
The 24 clinics that don’t perform abortions, including the one in Akron, focus on providing care related to birth control, cancer screenings and tests for HIV, other sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy, a spokeswoman said.
More than two-thirds of patients at the Akron clinic in 2016 lived below the poverty line, according to the nonprofit, and more than three-quarters were younger than 35 years old.
“A lot of the people who rely on [our services] live in low-income areas or rural areas, where there might not be another clinic nearby,” spokeswoman Jocelyn Smallwood said. “A lot of these people don’t have anyone else to turn to.”
The Akron clinic alone had 7,135 patients last year, totaling more than 13,000 visits, she said. The most common service was testing for STDs, followed by pregnancy testing.
But Mike Gonadakis, an anti-abortion lobbyist and president of the Ohio Right to Life nonprofit, described Planned Parenthood’s non-abortion health care as “ancillary” to its abortion services.
“Everyone knows the No. 1 reason a woman goes to Planned Parenthood is to get abortions,” he said.
When provided statistics from Smallwood that show a fifth of patients at Akron’s clinic self-identified as men, Gonadakis expressed doubt.
“Prove it. I can tell you there’s a pot of gold at the end of Main Street in Akron. But prove it,” he said. “That’s bulls***, and you can quote me on that.”
He praised President Donald Trump’s administration and the Senate’s opposition to abortion — especially Vice President Mike Pence, who was called to break a tie in the Senate vote.
“Seventy-five days into President Trump’s administration,” he said, “and we’re seeing real change. I’m glad.”
Planned Parenthood has repeatedly reminded the public that tax dollars do not fund the organization’s abortions.
The spokeswoman said the organization will continue to provide its various services despite attempts to defund it. Ohio’s Legislature tried last year to bar funding for the organization, but a federal judge blocked the law.
Statewide, 61,602 patients sought care at Planned Parenthood’s clinics.
In Akron, more than 2,000 patients received their care through self-pay or under Title X.
Title X was the target of the law passed by the Senate on Thursday. The law awaits Trump’s formal approval.
Nick Glunt can be reached at 330-996-3565 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NickGluntABJ and on Facebook @JournoNickGlunt .