The Family Council — rabid foe of Planned Parenthood, abortion, comprehensive sex education in schools, equal rights for LGBT people, etc. — reported today a real estate transaction that suggested Planned Parenthood might be preparing to reopen a health center in Northwest Arkansas.

Citing county tax records, the Family Council said an LLC with the same address as Planned Parenthood of the Great Plains office in Overland Park, Kan., had acquired a building that once housed a medical office in Rogers. “Because the facility is a former medical clinic, it stands to reason that it could be used as an abortion facility,” the Family Council said.

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The Family Council, and the rest of us, are late to the news. Records show the property was acquired in February 2020 for about $600,000, just as the pandemic was beginning to erupt globally. Since then, too, the Arkansas legislature has taken numerous steps to prohibit abortions in Arkansas and the governor’s prohibition of Medicaid reimbursement for family planning services offered by Planned Parenthood (not abortion) remains in place. Eighteen months after the acquisition, Planned Parenthood has made no announcement about reopening in Northwest Arkansas.

However: I have confirmed with Planned Parenthood that the organization will soon announce specifics of its return to Northwest Arkansas in a location formerly used as a doctor’s clinic and it said it was looking forward to an opportunity to return services to that area and to expand the care it offers in Arkansas. A formal announcement can be expected soon.

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Planned Parenthood, which has a health center in Little Rock, closed its center in Fayetteville in July 2019 after a landlord declined to renew the lease. The center was long a target of anti-abortion demonstrators and concerns were expressed about safety for staff and the roughly 2,000 patients seen each year for medical services including abortion. It said then it hoped to reopen in a new Northwest Arkansas location “soon.”

The Fayetteville center, like the center in Little Rock, provided only pharmaceutical abortions — pills given to women in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy that induce miscarriages. Only one provider in Arkansas still performs in-clinic abortions. The Arkansas legislature has attempted to outlaw even early-term pharmaceutical abortions but has been blocked by courts so far.

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