‘It’s devastating’: As Planned Parenthood’s Warminster location closes, Bucks County Dems express concern for abortion access

Pa. state Rep. Brian Munroe said the closure is a “symptom” of an “ongoing onslaught” on abortion rights.

Listen :55
A person walks past Planned Parenthood

A person walks past Planned Parenthood Friday, June 24, 2022, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

From Delco to Chesco and Montco to Bucks, what about life in Philly’s suburbs do you want WHYY News to cover? Let us know!

Planned Parenthood’s Warminster location shutters its doors Friday, leaving Bucks County with one Planned Parenthood location. County Democratic leaders called it a “devastating” blow for reproductive health services.

The closure comes the same week as the second anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson decision, which overturned Roe v. Wade and paved the way for states to ban abortion. Currently, 21 states ban or significantly restrict abortion.

Pa. state Rep. Brian Munroe, who unseated incumbent Republican Todd Polinchock in 2022, said the closure of the Warminster location is a “symptom” of an “ongoing onslaught” on abortion rights.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

“It’s devastating. This is a place where thousands of women over the last three decades, and specifically right here in our community, in Warminster, in the surrounding community, have gotten health care,” Munroe said. “It’s not just an abortion issue. It’s a women’s health issue … This is a direct result of the Dobbs decision.”

Abortion is legal in Pennsylvania up to 24 weeks, but health care providers and leaders say access is an issue.

A spokesperson for Planned Parenthood Keystone declined to elaborate on reasons for the closure. But in a statement last month, Planned Parenthood Keystone said they had to make the “difficult decision” in order to “keep up with the changing health care environment, and to ensure our patients receive the best care they can.”

Patients can continue to access Planned Parenthood services at the organization’s Bensalem location and via the PP Direct mobile app and their telehealth program.

County Democrats rallied behind Planned Parenthood.

“Despite the closure of one clinic, services are still being provided in Bucks County at their Bensalem location,” Bucks County Commissioner Diane Ellis-Marseglia said in a statement. “As long as this administration is in charge of Bucks County government, our employees will have access to reproductive healthcare, and I will always stand up for the rights of women to make their own decisions about their bodies.”

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

Ashley Ehasz, the Democratic nominee for Pennsylvania’s 1st Congressional District looking to unseat incumbent Republican Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, convened a roundtable June 22 to address the closure.

“Even here in Pennsylvania, where abortion is legal, we are still seeing limited access and access that is being restricted just by clinic closure, which means folks have to travel farther,” Ehasz told WHYY News on Wednesday. “I think this is just a reminder for folks here in Pennsylvania’s 1st that the rights to safe and legal abortion are always under attack, especially post-Dobbs decision.”

If elected, Ehasz said she would vote to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act, which Fitzpatrick voted against in 2021 and 2022, and advocate for a repeal of the Hyde Amendment, which prevents federal funding for abortion providers.

Casey-Lee Waldron, Fitzpatrick’s campaign spokesperson, said in a statement that Fitzpatrick “has always and will continue to stand in support of Pennsylvania’s current law, which allows abortion to be legal through the first 24 weeks of pregnancy.”

“He remains steadfast in his commitment to supporting women’s health, including access to contraception and IVF,” Waldron said.

Munroe, who is running for reelection this fall, said he is focused on maintaining abortion rights protection at the state level. He said his election win, flipping the 144th district and state House Democratic in 2022, was key to blocking a constitutional amendment restricting and potentially banning abortion.

“It shows and highlights how this district, the 144th district, is the frontlines in protecting women’s rights,” Munroe said.

Get daily updates from WHYY News!

WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal