OMAHA — Planned Parenthood of the Heartland plans to open facilities in 12 more communities in Nebraska and Iowa over the next five years, as well as a third location in Lincoln, its president and CEO said Thursday.
Jill June announced the expansion as part of the $11.5 million capital campaign for the Heartland chapter, which already operates 25 clinics in the two states. Planned Parenthood already has gotten commitments of $7 million and should reach its goal well within its five-year timeline, she said.
Lincoln, which already has two Planned Parenthood facilities, will be getting a new health center similar to the existing two. June said the chapter should complete the purchase of the site in the next 30 days and will release more information at that time.
The announcement came during a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new facility in Omaha that will offer abortions and was on the heels of Congress voting down a proposal to deny federal funds to Planned Parenthood.
The new clinics announced Thursday would be located in Grand Island, Fremont, North Platte, Hastings, Norfolk and Kearney in Nebraska, and Carter Lake, Clinton, Mason City, Muscatine, Ottumwa and Marshalltown in Iowa. Planned Parenthood did not say whether the clinics will offer abortions.
Of Planned Parenthood's 25 existing clinics, only four are in Nebraska, and all are in Omaha and Lincoln.
In addition to providing abortions, the new Omaha clinic will offer cancer screenings, treatment for sexually transmitted diseases and a special exam suite for sexual assault victims. Planned Parenthood didn't previously offer abortions in the city.
Abortion foes have been anticipating Planned Parenthood's expansion in Nebraska and pushed for legislation that would limit its telemedicine program, which has been used in Iowa to offer abortions since 2008.
Under that program, women in the early stages of pregnancy seeking an abortion-inducing drug can go to existing clinics, where they meet with a nurse, then talk to a doctor by a secure Internet connection. The doctor has the woman's medical records and can remotely open a container and provide the drug.
The Nebraska measure from Lincoln Sen. Tony Fulton would ban the use of webcams to administer abortion drugs remotely.