Lack Of Funding Closes Tulsa Planned Parenthood's Pharmacy

Monday, June 27th 2016, 11:01 pm
By: News On 6

Lack of funding means a Tulsa health center is going to close its pharmacy.

The Planned Parenthood in midtown Tulsa will no longer fill prescriptions on site, meaning patients coming for affordable birth control pills will have to look elsewhere.

When it comes to preventing unplanned pregnancies, Oklahoma needs all the help it can get. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, Oklahoma has the second-highest rate of births among girls ages 15 to 19 in the country.

The national average teen birth rate is 29.4 per thousand teenagers; Oklahoma has an average rate of 47.3.

"As a public health measure, we want to do what we can to prevent unplanned pregnancies," said Ellen Niemitalo with the Tulsa County Health Department.

Niemitalo said the health department, like the midtown Planned Parenthood, does not have a pharmacy, but, depending on the patient's insurance, she can get birth control pills.

Planned Parenthood says lack of Title-Ten funding is to blame for the recent change.

The agency released a statement, reading, in part, "It's extremely disheartening that because of politics, the health and well-being of women, men and families in Tulsa is being compromised [...] We will continue to do all we can to fulfill our mission to protect, promote and provide sexual and reproductive health care, education and advocacy."

The local Planned Parenthood will still offer family planning services, including birth control implants and IUDs. The Tulsa County Health Department does as well.

"I think we provide a good service, so we are certainly a good option. I would hate for women to not be with the care that they need," Niemitalo said.