By Kaitlin Hicks
With nearly constant protesting and a buzzer on the door, one of the newest neighbors in Fitchburg doesn’t seem so welcome. Planned Parenthood has arrived on 391 Main St. and is a resource for sexual-health services for both residents of the city and of Fitchburg State University.
“For over 80 years, Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts has been the state’s leading expert provider of sexual and reproductive health-care services,” said Dianne Luby, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts. “As part of our long-standing history in the Commonwealth, we have been an essential community provider in Central Massachusetts since 1982.”
Despite this long history of service, Planned Parenthood still has a reputation that may scare away potential patients. In the case of the Fitchburg Planned Parenthood, some of the negativity is unnecessary, as they do not perform abortions at this location. Instead, they offer a selection of opportunities for sexual-health care for both women and men.
With the University’s campus in such close proximity, Planned Parenthood offers students the chance to stop in and learn something new. “We are collaborating with FSU to ensure that its students have access to high-quality sexual-health services,” Luby said. “Currently, we are working with FSU’s department of health services to provide information during the spring semester on a variety of sexual health topics.”
On campus, health services is able to help students with some types of contraception, for example. But, according to Beth Basiner, a physician assistant at FSU’s health services, “Planned Parenthood offers different forms of contraception such as IUDs, diaphragms and Implanon that we do not offer here.” For this reason, health services may refer students to Planned Parenthood down the street, and students may also choose to go there on their own.
“We are encouraged by the increasing number of students walking through our doors since opening in August 2010,” Luby said. And we are ready and prepared to welcome more members of the FSU community. As we have said from the beginning, we want to be a part of the public health system in Fitchburg.”