Planned parenthood opens center for lesbians

(U-WIRE) WASHINGTON – On Sept. 23, a Planned Parenthood center geared specifically toward serving the lesbian community opened in Falls Church, Va. While this was not the first center in the country to offer services to lesbians, it was the first to open with a specific clientele in mind.

“There has been a need in the community in the past, where someone with a different [sexual] orientation has felt uncomfortable in a physician’s office. We created a safe haven; a clinic with no bias, where everyone can come in and feel comfortable,” said Samantha Speaks, the center manager in Falls Church.

The center offers exactly the same services as any planned parenthood, including breast examinations, pelvis and cervix exams, and STD screenings. The difference is not in what is offered at the center, but the environment presented to make lesbians more comfortable in their surroundings during what many women already feel is a stressful and uncomfortable medical exam.

The Falls Church community has responded positively to the opening and incorporation of the new center.

“There’s actually been quite a great response. We’re working with the local community to get it off the ground,” said Speaks.

Gay and lesbian rights are an issue that has come to the attention of many in light of the upcoming election. While neither Bush nor Kerry approve of gay marriage in the literal sense, their ideologies on the issue differ greatly.

After the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that the ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional last winter, Bush publicly denounced the institution.

“Marriage is between a man and a woman, and I think we ought to codify that one way or the other,” said Bush.

In response to President Bush asserting that he would endorse a constitutional amendment, Kerry said, “I believe the best way to protect gays and lesbians is through civil unions. I believe the issue of marriage should be left to the states, and that the president of the United States should be addressing the central challenges where he has failed — jobs, health care and our leadership in the world — rather than once again seeking to drive a wedge by toying with the United States Constitution for political purposes.”

Kerry has also stated his support for extending the Family Medical Leave Act to same-sex couples, and the right of homosexuals to adopt a child.

While the Falls Church Center is still getting its feet off the ground, it has shown an important local effort to aid in the movement for gay and lesbian rights.

“Right now we’re just focusing on networking. Other clinics in the area can refer patients to us, and we’re trying to be a part of the network. We want to be another great gynecological resource for lesbians, where they can feel comfortable,” said Speaks.

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