Planned Parenthood is closing half of its six New Mexico clinics amid declining patient visits, but the closures will not affect the availability of abortion procedures, the organization announced Thursday.
Sale of some of the clinic buildings, one each in Albuquerque, Rio Rancho and Farmington, could also be used to fund a renovation to the San Mateo site in Albuquerque, which has been solely an abortion procedure center but will add other services.
That clinic now will expand to also provide reproductive and family planning services as the other clinics in the state provide, said Shaya Torres, spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains in New Mexico.
“As part of the changes, the remaining clinics that we do have, the ones in Albuquerque Northeast Heights and San Mateo, will be expanding hours and services,” Torres said.
In addition to the New Mexico clinics, the Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood region is also closing its only location in Wyoming, though there remain other family planning and abortion providers in the state, and two locations in Colorado.
Torres said that clients of the Farmington clinic, the only Planned Parenthood clinic north of Santa Fe, can access other Planned Parenthood clinics in southern Colorado, including in Durango and Cortez, at which New Mexico Medicaid is accepted.
The closures will happen in September and are aimed at keeping the nonprofit solvent as Torres said the number of patients has declined.
“The ones we are closing are definitely some of the ones where less people are going,” Torres said.
Why the clinics are seeing a patient decline isn’t quite clear, but Torres said it was noticed after the Affordable Care Act went into effect and after the launch of Medicaid expansion in New Mexico.
“The ACA expanded the number of individuals who had insurance … and of course we support that …. It’s just such a changing environment,” Torres said.
She did not link the closures to congressional movement toward changing or blocking federal funds flowing to Planned Parenthood and other groups around the world, even for nonabortion health services, but Tara Shaver, spokeswoman for Abortion Free New Mexico, said Thursday that she feels the national funding conversation could be contributing to the closures.
“It all kind of makes sense to us when we look at the climate change … under President Trump,” she said. “This is a step in the right direction for building a culture of life in New Mexico.”
Nob Hill: 2,500
Rio Rancho: 1,800
NE Heights: 2,400
San Mateo: 1,800
Santa Fe: 1,500