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2018 FALL


HORIZONS A Publication of Planned Parenthood South Texas

Our finest hours have come when presidential power has intersected with voices of protest to lead us to higher ground.”


2019 Annual Luncheon Featured Guest

YOUR VOTE MATTERS barrier to voting, Black and Hispanic respondents were at least twice as likely as white respondents to have experienced those barriers. So in addition to voting on Nov. 6, encourage your friends — and delivery person, florist, sommelier, Lyft driver, everyone! — to do the same. Higher turnout makes our democracy more representative, and as such, better.

In a true democracy, everyone must exercise their right to vote so all voices will be heard and represented. As a country, we are falling short. In the 2016 presidential election, nearly 92 million eligible Americans did not go to the polls. In the 2014 midterm elections, an estimated 143 million eligible Americans failed to vote, marking the lowest level of voter participation in 72 years. Research shows that communities of color, young people, and Americans with low incomes are disproportionately affected by registration barriers, inflexible voting hours, and poll closures.


A poll released this summer by the Public Religion Research Institute and The Atlantic found that voting is routinely harder for people of color than their white counterparts. In almost every issue identified as a common 2018 Fall HORIZONS

If you would like to learn more about where candidates stand on issues relating to women’s rights and reproductive health care, consider becoming involved with Planned Parenthood Texas Votes (PPTV). PPTV is a separate statewide 501(c)(4) advocacy organization that fights to elect officials at every level of government who will protect women’s health and rights.

2018 BOARD OF DIRECTORS Planned Parenthood South Texas Chair Kathy Armstrong Vice-Chair Elise Boyan Treasurer Merritt Clements Secretary Patricia Morales


Immediate Past Chair Alison Boone La Juana Chambers Cheryl Davis, DDS Ceci Goldstone Laurie Greenberg, MD Lupita Gutierrez Alison Kennamer Ellen Lake Rev. Jon Lowry Fernando Martinez, PhD Don McRee, PhD Amber Medina Sara Metersky Barbara Moschner Yvonne Pelayo Stuart Schlossberg Susan N. Smith Brian Steward President & CEO Jeffrey Hons Senior Vice President & COO Polin C. Barraza, RN



President’s Message


We’re Growing San Pedro Health center expands to new space, adds new service


Join Us at a Salon Learn about PPST’s strategic initiatives moving forward


A New Look In Harlingen Renovations at the health center to improve client experience


New Service Blossoms Transgender hormone therapy flourishes


Lunch with Jon Meacham Presidential historian to be featured at 2019 Annual Luncheon


Welcome, Dr. Wen! Planned Parenthood Federation of America gets a new president


Out & About Staff and volunteers making a difference in our community MISSION We provide and protect the health care and information people need to plan their families and their futures. 2018 Fall HORIZONS


President’s Message


hat can we expect in the future from the Supreme Court in relation to Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to manage reproductive self-determination? The confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh heightens my concerns, and I imagine yours, too. There are any number of commentators writing about this question. Who will prove to be right? Who knows? Has this harrowing confirmation made changes to the political landscape of the country? Many say it has, but only time will tell. Here’s what I know to be true before this most recent nomination, and what remains true regardless of the future of the High Court. A woman is a full person. And in the powerful words of Marge Piercy, “Priests and legislators do not hold shares in my womb or my mind. This is my body. If I give it to you I want it back. My life is a non-negotiable demand.” Whatever comes of the High Court, and no matter what decisions are rendered in the future, Marge Piercy’s words will always be true. Women will seek to control the times and terms under which they become parents,


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or do not become parents. Every woman in my life has made it clear to me that women are intelligent enough and moral enough to weigh all the matters that relate to the complex and private decision of what to do if you become pregnant at a time you do not want to become a parent. But let’s expand that last sentence, because women also choose to have abortions during wanted pregnancies. Consider carefully that women learn information about their pregnancies, and their own health, throughout gestation, and sometimes that information is not good news. Difficult decisions about reproductive self-determination come to women all the time. Planned Parenthood has had the honorable and humbling experience of hearing the stories of women and their reproductive lives for almost 80 years in South Texas, and for more than

100 years nationwide. Such experience leads to only one policy position: we must trust women. Because I trust women, I have been horrified over the years watching the Texas legislature over-regulate abortion. In so doing, they have precipitated clinic closures that have reduced the number of places in Texas where a woman can find an abortion to what I estimate to be less than twenty locations. We must reverse this, because geography is access. If we believe women should have greater access to this care, then we must provide this care at more places ourselves. And that is what we are doing. This summer, we renovated our San Pedro health center to begin providing abortion care. This makes two Planned Parenthood locations in San Antonio where women can find this care. Abortion care should be a part of the full range of women’s health care. I am proud of what we’re doing, yet it is not lost on me that this expansion is happening at the same time that legal abortion is in political jeopardy. If Trump makes good on his campaign promise, he will only nominate judges who will overturn Roe v. Wade. Those are the president’s words. He is very good at creating fear with his words. We cannot act out of fear. We must act out of compassion, intelligence and care—no matter what we face. Right now, I am focused on making abortion care accessible to the women of South Texas. Regardless of what comes to us in the future, it will always be part of our job to make abortion care accessible to the women of South Texas. We will be what women need us to be. That was true before, and that remains true as we move forward.

At this point I’m supposed to include a paragraph about how we provide more family planning than we provide abortion, somehow making abortion care acceptable because it is a small portion of all that we do in our clinics. I’m tired of that veiled apology. Who am I to apologize? And to whom am I apologizing? Abortion care is part of women’s health care, and women’s health care is health care. Full stop. Every time we try to qualify the provision of abortion care by citing all our family planning work, I worry that we are telling women how to feel about their abortions. No more of that. We trust women and their decisions about reproductive self-determination.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT … Visit our website at to read Sophie Novack’s telling article in The Texas Observer, “Anti-Abortion Family Planning Group Promised to Serve 70,000 Women. It Served 3,300.” Time and time again we’re seeing what happens when extreme politicians block access to care at Planned Parenthood: fewer women get the health care they need and deserve.

People have been falling in love, making love, and making families forever. That is not new. Sexuality is a wonderful and beautiful part of being human. That is not changing. Planned Parenthood endures and is loved because we meet people where they are in their lives, and we provide the family planning and sexual health care they need. Let’s keep focused on that good and wise work.

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EXPANDED SPACE, EXPANDED SERVICES AT SAN PEDRO Exciting transformations are underway at our San Pedro health center in San Antonio! In spring 2017, we relocated our Ashby clinic to a building we purchased and renovated at 920 San Pedro Ave., in the center of the city. After a successful year of serving patients, we renovated a larger space in the building to expand our family planning operation. We also are introducing first-trimester abortion care at this address.

Expanded family planning space Our family planning clinic has been operating in a 1,500-square-foot space. This summer, we renovated a different 3,783-square-foot space in the building so we can serve more patients. This new clinical space, which has four exam rooms and a patient education


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room, is our premiere family planning space where we will provide birth control to more clients than we do at any site. The space also includes a lab, two lavatories, a large waiting room, a small office for the clinic manager, an employee break room, and a reception area. The beautiful, spacious clinic was designed to provide the best possible patient experience.

Abortion care This move allowed us to expand and augment the 1,500-square-foot clinical space to provide abortion care. The space — now 2,012 square feet — has two exam rooms, two lavoraties, a recovery room (required by the state for our license), a larger lab, a waiting room, a reception area and an employee break room. We are deeply grateful to our supporters whose gifts made these transformations possible.

2018 Fall HORIZONS


MOVING FORWARD, EVEN NOW Major changes involving the Title X program, the Affordable Care Act, and the Supreme Court have short and long-term implications for Planned Parenthood’s work that are profound. The Board and staff of Planned Parenthood South Texas have developed a plan to mitigate and manage challenges and secure our future. Some of our plans are outlined in the most recent Stakeholder’s Report. But given the velocity of the changes around us, you can be sure that our own understanding of certain situations has evolved since writing and that we are already adjusting our plans.


2018 Fall HORIZONS

That is why we hope you will consider attending or hosting a Moving Forward information salon where President & CEO Jeffrey Hons can share with you our most up-todate intelligence and our evolving plans. Please contact Angela Koester, Development Director (210-572-5278 or angela.koester@ to volunteer your home or office for an information salon — or to get on the invitation list for one in your area. Our first salons are taking place in October and will continue through the spring. In spite of everything, we think that those of you who attend an information salon will come away optimistic about our future. PPST has the organizational expertise and the creativity to adapt to future changes and remain an essential partner to women in South Texas. After all, we’ve had nearly 80 years of experience.

Rio Grande Valley Information Salon Our first salon in the Rio Grande Valley will be hosted November 9 by Board member Alison Kennamer. The salon will take place from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on South Padre Island. Contact Angela Koester at or 210-572-5278 for more information and to RSVP.




his summer, we completed revamping the Harlingen health center to improve patient experience and clinic flow. The waiting room and reception area were remodeled to be more functional, and our clinician’s office is now located next to the exam rooms to improve movement of patients through the clinic. The signage outdoors has also been replaced to reflect updated branding and logos.


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Our patients are at the center of our work, and a fresh, upgraded facility helps make their visits to us more pleasant and enjoyable. The Harlingen health center has been located at the same address (712 N. 77 Sunshine Strip) for more than 20 years. In 2017, the health center served 1,804 patients, providing contraception, STD testing and treatment, pregnancy tests, cervical cancer screenings, HPV vaccinations, and more.



n August 2017, Planned Parenthood South Texas began providing gender-affirming hormone treatment to patients with gender identities that don’t match the gender they were assigned at birth.

During the first five months, we provided this care to 47 patients. In 2018 (through August), we have already provided this care to 250 patients. It’s clear this service is meeting a need in the community.

South Texas has few providers offering hormone therapy — estrogen or testosterone — for transgender patients. We provide hormone therapy services at all seven of our health centers in San Antonio, Brownsville and Harlingen, for patients ages 18 and older. Patients keep coming back to us because our trained staff provides care in a compassionate, affirmative environment. The transgender community too often faces barriers to health care and a lack of respect and understanding from providers. Planned Parenthood is honored to provide gender-affirming hormone therapy, in addition to all our other services, to our transgender patients.

2018 Fall HORIZONS



JON MEACHAM Honorary Chair: Juliรกn Castro May 1, 2019 10

2018 Fall HORIZONS

How many times since the last Presidential election have we felt we needed to be talked away from the edge of the cliff? Enter Jon Meacham, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author and presidential historian who reminds us that extreme political and social turmoil are nothing new for our nation. The American people, Meacham reminds us, have struggled through great darkness before. So how do we overcome this nation’s current challenges? Meacham calls our attention to what he asserts is historic fact: “Our best moments have come when voices far from power — reformers, protesters, those who have been on the margins — have forced the powerful to take notice.” These are ideas that should galvanize those of us who

care passionately about women’s health and rights. Planned Parenthood South Texas has come through plenty of tough times since its founding nearly 80 years ago. Every woman we help is a triumph. We know we are on the right side of history, and that “the better angels of our nature” will ultimately prevail. Until then, we’re glad to be in this fight with YOU. We can’t imagine a more enjoyable way to pass an afternoon than in the company of 1,200 or so of San Antonio’s better angels reflecting (wistfully!) on the theme of, “Character and the Presidency.” We will reflect on times in our past when extraordinary presidents and citizens “came together to defeat the forces of anger, intolerance, and extremism.” We’re honored that Julián Castro will also be with us on May 1. He has always been ‘with us,’ proudly and publicly standing with Planned Parenthood and demonstrating a comprehensive understanding of the intersectionality of our issues with other concerns. We know that access to medical care alone is not enough.

CHARACTER AND THE US PRESIDENCY The 2019 Planned Parenthood Annual Luncheon

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Too often our patients walk out of our clinics only to face a world where racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination frustrate their plans for themselves, their families and their futures. Julian Castro is a powerful voice in support of people and opportunity. Sponsored tables of 10 are available now, and will sell out quickly. The recent loss of federal family planning funding means Planned Parenthood South Texas has $800,000 less per year to spend on family planning for low-income women. So it is vitally important to our patients that we have a wildly successful Luncheon. If you’ve never sponsored before, please consider doing so now. And if you have sponsored before, please consider upgrading your level of sponsorship this year—perhaps by enlisting a friend to co-sponsor with you at a more generous level. Remember, Sponsors have a whole year to pay for their tables.


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Those of you who are able to sponsor at the Platinum $10,000 level will be invited to an exclusive dinner the evening before the Luncheon with Jon Meacham and Julian Castro. We understand that precisely because these are such challenging times, there may be a number of organizations whose work you are supporting with your philanthropy. (Terrific! We’re all in this together.) So know that we are profoundly grateful for every gift we receive, no matter the size. Each one takes Planned Parenthood South Texas and our patients towards higher ground.

Visit for more information or contact Angela Koester at or 210-572-5278.

About Jon Meacham Pulitzer Prize-winning presidential historian Jon Meacham is one of America’s most prominent public intellectuals. A regular guest on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Meacham is known as a skilled raconteur with a depth of knowledge about politics, religion, and current affairs. Meacham brings historical context to the issues and events impacting our daily lives.

All Luncheon Sponsors receive signed copies of Jon Meacham’s newest book, “The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels.” Released in May, the New York Times bestseller examines the present moment in American politics and life by looking back at critical times in U.S. history when hope overcame division and fear. The idea for the book occurred to Meacham “after the terrible events in Charlottesville last August when the neo-Nazis and the Klansmen were demonstrating, and the counter protester Heather Heyer was killed. And we found ourselves with a president of the United States who seemed unable to condemn neo-Nazis and Klansmen for violating a fundamental part of the American creed. And my sense was that, at heart, the American identity is a perennial conflict between our worst instincts and our best ones. OK. It's a soul — an ethos that has room for Martin Luther King, but it also has room — from generation to generation — for the Ku Klux Klan and for hate and for fear.”

His book “Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush” debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestsellers list. The Times said of the book, “‘Destiny and Power’ reflects the qualities of both subject and biographer: judicious, balanced, deliberative, with a deep appreciation of history and the personalities who shape it.” Meacham delivered a moving tribute at the funeral of First Lady Barbara Bush. His #1 New York Times bestseller “Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power” was hailed as “masterful and intimate” by Fortune magazine. His other national bestsellers include “Franklin and Winston,” “American Gospel,” and “American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House,” which won the Pulitzer Prize in 2009. Named a “Global Leader for Tomorrow” by the World Economic Forum, Meacham is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a fellow of the Society of American Historians, and chairs the National Advisory Board of the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University. Meacham is a Distinguished Visiting Professor of History at The University of the South and a Visiting Distinguished Professor at Vanderbilt. He is currently at work on a biography of James and Dolley Madison.

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On Sept. 12, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) announced that Dr. Leana Wen will serve as its sixth president — only the second doctor to head the organization in its 102year history. Dr. Wen has dedicated her career to expanding access to health care for the most vulnerable communities, reducing health disparities, and finding innovative solutions to address public health problems. Known as the “Doctor for the City” in Baltimore, she oversees

“I am very lucky in my life to have been able to make the choices that I did. And in part I was able to make the choices because I had the support to do so and because our society allowed me to. I’ve been thinking a lot in recent days about abortion not only from a clinical perspective as a doctor but also personally. I haven’t had an abortion, but I have been the woman who has taken a pregnancy test and wished more than anything that it would show I’m not pregnant because at that point in my life, I wasn’t ready to be a mother. I wanted to go to college. I wanted to go to medical school. I wanted to get out of the circumstances of my past and achieve my dreams. more than 1,000 employees with an annual budget of $130 million; two clinics that provide more than 18,000 patients with reproductive health services; and medical programs for 180 Baltimore schools. “Anyone who has worked with Dr. Wen knows that when it comes to protecting her patients, she doesn’t back down from a fight,” Representative Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said in a statement. “In Baltimore, she has been a true partner in our shared mission to provide access to quality health care for all. She has expanded care, eliminated

But I’ve also been that same woman who at a different point in my life took a pregnancy test and wished more than anything that it were positive because at that point, my husband and I desperately wanted to start a family. And I’m so lucky now that I have my son, Eli, who just turned a year old. You know, I was able to make the choices for myself. And I strongly believe that we as a society should trust women.” Dr. Leana Wen NPR’s “All Things Considered” Sept. 13, 2018

2018 Fall HORIZONS


obstacles, and, most important of all, saved lives. Her brilliance and passion for her work shines through in everything she does. There is no question that in selecting Dr. Wen as its president, Planned Parenthood is gaining a powerful and effective advocate, and millions across this country will benefit from her leadership.” Over the last 18 months, Dr. Wen has fought to protect women and families in Baltimore from the Trump administration’s rollbacks of basic health care protections. In March 2018, on behalf of Dr. Wen and the Baltimore City Health Department, the City of Baltimore sued the Trump administration for cutting funds for teen pregnancy prevention, which resulted in a federal judge ordering the restoration of $5 million in grant funding to two Baltimore-based teen pregnancy prevention programs. She has fought Trump administration changes to Title X — the nation’s largest program dedicated to affordable birth control and reproductive health care — to protect funding for 23 health clinics in Baltimore providing reproductive health care for women with low-incomes.    As a practicing physician, Dr. Wen has helped organized thousands of doctors and health professionals against President Trump’s proposed domestic gag rule (a rule that prohibits recipient of Title X funding from providing abortion care with separate funds, from referring a woman for an abortion, or


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“promoting” abortion), saying the rule fundamentally alters the nature of the doctor-patient relationship and will dramatically reduce the quality of care for thousands of women. In August, Dr. Wen helped lead a lawsuit against the Trump administration for intentionally and unlawfully sabotaging the Affordable Care Act, jeopardizing health care for thousands of people in Baltimore.   Under her direction, the Baltimore City Health Department leads the country in health innovations and was recently recognized by the National Association of County and City Health Officials as the Local Health Department of the Year.    Growing up, Dr. Wen, as well as her mother and younger sister, relied on Planned Parenthood for health care. During medical school, she volunteered at a Planned Parenthood health center in St. Louis. Dr. Wen’s first day at Planned Parenthood Federation of America will be November 12. We hope that she’ll have the chance to get to know you, and us, in the not-too-distant future. We will invite Dr. Wen to visit our clinics and meet with us so that the opportunities and challenges that are unique to South Texas will inform her thinking as she maps out the future course of Planned Parenthood nationwide. We’ll update you as these plans develop.

Out & About

Staff and volunteers making a difference in our community


t Planned Parenthood South Texas, our work happens inside and outside the walls of our health centers. Our staff and dedicated volunteers work in the community to provide health education and to advance our public affairs agenda. This raises awareness of our work, cultivates community partnerships, and increases support of PPST.  We educate the community about sexual and reproductive health. Promotoras with our Habla Con Tu Hermana program deliver presentations at sites throughout Cameron County. In San Antonio, we visit locations throughout the city to talk about safer sex, provide information at health fairs, and educate elected officials on public health issues.

Women’s March in San Antonio, and the Families Belong Together rally in Brownsville to protest family separations at the border.  We volunteer with other organizations to serve the community. PPST volunteers have prepared meals with the San Antonio Food Bank at Haven for Hope and with Mobile Loaves & Fishes.  We participate in community workgroups and councils. These include the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District’s Fast-Track Cities Initiative aimed at reducing HIV in Bexar County, as well as Metro Health’s Office of Health Equity-supported LGBTQIA Health Disparity and Advocacy Group. This ensures that Planned Parenthood has a voice in these important public health issues.

 We raise awareness of services available at PPST health centers. For example, we braved the heat at the PRIDE Festival to promote the availability of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), HIV prevention, and gender-affirming hormone therapy.  We support social justice issues beyond reproductive health. We participate in events such as Take Back the Night at the Rape Crisis Center, the

For more information on our work in the community, please contact Mara Posada, Director of Public Affairs, at (210) 572-5297 or

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2140 Babcock Road San Antonio, Texas 78229-4424 210.736.2244

Planned Parenthood South Texas


Profile for Planned Parenthood South Texas

Horizons Fall 2018  

Horizons Fall 2018  


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