Planned Parenthood that served thousands in Winter Haven shuts down
By WFTS Webteam
ABC Action News
WINTER HAVEN, Fla. - State lawmakers in the Florida House are working on a budget that makes sure no money goes to Planned Parenthood.
It comes at the same time Planned Parenthood in Winter Haven closes its doors.
Some see it as a victory, but the nonprofit claims it closed because it made sense financially.
Planned Parenthood in Winter Haven merged its employees with the Lakeland location. That location will not perform abortions, but will continue preventive services.
With the agency serving 4,500 uninsured or underinsured Polk County residents, some see closing the Winter Haven office as a blow to the community.
"We don't have a health department in Winter Haven, and with Planned Parenthood reducing their services, it provides quite a burden to us," said Erin O'Brien Best, a physician at Central Florida Health Care.
Best sees 50 women a day at the clinic. It's now the only federally funded clinic catering to women in the city.
"It's convenient. I live down the street," said Health Nikodem, who is a patient at the Planned Parenthood in Winter Haven.
Nikodem, who just had a baby, is unemployed.
"Every week I had to come in and make sure I was controlling the diet, not gaining too much weight," Nikodem said.
She pays on average $10 per visit. So does Tosheima Jones.
"It is expensive being pregnant, because when I see the bills come, I'm like, 'Whoa, I don't have this kind of money. I'm unemployed right now,'" Jones said.
The two women worry about not having access to affordable care.
"What would I do? It would be really hard," said Jones.