Local

Planned Parenthood in Kansas merges with Oklahoma affiliate

Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri (April 25, 2014)
Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri (April 25, 2014) File photo

Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri will merge with Planned Parenthood of Central Oklahoma and will get a new name: Planned Parenthood Great Plains.

The change, announced Wednesday, will take effect July 1.

Laura McQuade, president and CEO of the Kansas and mid-Missouri affiliate, will oversee nine health centers in Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri.

That includes a new Oklahoma City clinic expected to open shortly after the merger takes place. In total, Planned Parenthood will have three clinics in the Oklahoma City area.

The merger will include nine health centers in Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri, one of which will open in Oklahoma City shortly after the merger.

It’s part of a larger consolidation trend nationwide. McQuade said Planned Parenthood went from more than 500 affiliates 20 years ago to about 100 affiliates five years ago and now has just under 60 affiliates nationwide.

“It’s harder and harder to carry a CEO and four to five VPs when you’re in a smaller geographic area,” she said. “This is all about creating a stronger powerhouse affiliate.”

And that can be more challenging in conservative states, she said.

When you have to fight legislative battles and legal battles on a regular basis, you have to carry a larger staff than if you’re sitting in New York City, where you might not have to fight the legislative and legal battles we have to fight in Kansas and Oklahoma.

Laura McQuade, president and CEO of soon-to-be Planned Parenthood Great Plains

“When you have to fight legislative battles and legal battles on a regular basis, you have to carry a larger staff than if you’re sitting in New York City, where you might not have to fight the legislative and legal battles we have to fight in Kansas and Oklahoma,” she said.

Planned Parenthood is in the midst of a legal battle with the state of Kansas over efforts to defund the program by cutting off Medicaid dollars that pay for services for low-income residents. In letters to Planned Parenthood, the state cited lack of cooperation with inspections as partial reasoning for it to defund the organization.

Planned Parenthood is in the midst of a legal battle with the state of Kansas because of Gov. Sam Brownback’s efforts to defund the program.

Bonyen Lee-Gilmore, spokesperson for Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, said plans for the merger have been in the making for more than a year and a half. The headquarters will remain in Kansas City.

McQuade said no one would lose a job because of the merger and that the five Oklahoma leadership positions will remain in Oklahoma City. She took over as interim CEO of the central-Oklahoma affiliate in January.

Right now, none of the clinics in the Oklahoma City area offers abortions. But Lee-Gilmore said “we’re always keeping our options open.”

Kathleen Sebelius, the former Kansas governor who was a keynote speaker at the Planned Parenthood conference in Kansas City, talked with reporters after her speech. Video by Joe Ledford

Supporters of Planned Parenthood held a rally in downtown Wichita on Tuesday to show support for the 80-year-old organization.

Gov. Sam Brownback repeatedly criticized Planned Parenthood during a news conference July 24, 2015, after calling for the Board of Healing Arts to investigate abortion facilities.

Gabriella Dunn: 316-268-6400, @gabriella_dunn

Related stories from Wichita Eagle

  Comments