The recent announcement that the Planned Parenthood office and clinic in Sheboygan is closing has been met with mixed emotions. The public reaction has at times been thoughtful, interesting, ugly, diverse and heartfelt. Understandably so.
Most of us hold strong views and opinions on the topics of health care, community-wide sexual health, abortion on demand, etc. Throw political and religious beliefs into that mix and if we are not careful, we can end up viewing each other from across a fence.
As members of this community and of the human race, we all share some common goals. We may have very different ideas regarding how to arrive at those goals, but I am confident that, ultimately, we hold a mutual commitment to and desire for: strong families, safe communities and neighborhoods, educational opportunities, access to affordable and excellent healthcare, opportunities for our children to grow and flourish to their potential, affordable and decent housing, jobs capable of supporting a family while providing financially for a secure future, and the freedom to express ourselves and enter into robust yet respectful conversation. I am sure this list could be extended.
Could it be that the announcement of Planned Parenthood’s closing elicits such a response because of subjective interpretations of how the organization’s departure from Sheboygan will affect the community? Citizens on both sides of the aisle have expressed views ranging from lament to celebratory joy, with the voice of finding common ground somewhere in the middle.
It is from that middle, a focus on what unifies us versus what divides us, that we must, and can, proceed if we are to accomplish what we say we want to accomplish.
If we are seeking the best interests of those previously served by Planned Parenthood, logic indicates that we step back, evaluate the available community resources, and join together in supporting individuals in need of and desiring to use the services previously provided by Planned Parenthood.
Sheboygan has several community agencies available to meet the needs of clients previously served by Planned Parenthood.
In reading online comments, I noticed that the majority of concern centers on individuals who are uninsured or underinsured. Several nonprofits exist in Sheboygan to help meet this specific community need. One such organization is Lakeshore Community Health Care. This comprehensive healthcare facility is located on Saemann Avenue and operates as an affordable health care option for community residents. Their services include medical (including primary care), dental, behavioral health, nutrition and wellness, lab and more. They operation on a sliding fee scale based off the federal poverty level.
Another free sexual health and pregnancy clinic is Anchor of Hope Health Center, located on North 9th Street. This non-profit organization offers women of all ages pregnancy tests and ultrasounds, along with parenting classes, STI testing and treatment, material support, and other services for both women and men.
Responding to change is a choice. And choice offers opportunity. We can choose to respond in maturity and integrity, seeking information and options, as opposed to a reactionary, divisive manner.
Sheboygan is fortunate to be home to a number of service-oriented non-profits. We, as a community, can use this opportunity to come alongside one another, connecting ourselves and others with the providers who stand ready and willing to help. In this, together, we become an active and necessary part of the solution.
Anchor of Hope
703 N 9th St.
Sheboygan, WI 53081
Phone: 1(920) 452-4673
- Pregnancy Screening
- STD/STI Testing
- Parenting Classes
- Abortion Recovery
- Pregnancy Options Counseling
Services offered by the Anchor of Hope Health Center are provided at no-cost to the patient and are completely confidential, and all medical procedures are administered by licensed medical professionals.