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Planned Parenthood Finds New Location

December 7, 2018

Planned Parenthood Finds New Location

WILKES-BARRE — Planned Parenthood has secured a new location in Wilkes-Barre.

The non-profit organization that provides reproductive health care will relocate to a building at 101 N. Main St. in January, Planned Parenthood Keystone announced in a press release.

Wilkes-Barre businessman Thom Greco owns the building and will be the landlord. He said no surgical abortions will be done at the site.

“Although I believe that the decision to end a pregnancy must be left to a woman, her family and her faith, I can share that surgical abortion will not be offered at this site,” Greco said in an email.

“I am a deeply religious man and practicing Catholic and I believe in protecting the health and well being of women and their families. I do not believe it is my place to dictate my religious belief to others,” he added. “I respect a woman’s ability to make deeply personal and private decisions about her health care, without interference. I do not believe that you can make that type of decision for someone else.”

Planned Parenthood’s relocation comes after the Angeline Kirby Health Center Board’s decided not to renew its lease at 63 N. Franklin St. after 84 years.

“We are thrilled to share that our doors will stay open and patients in Wilkes-Barre will have uninterrupted access to the basic reproductive health care services they depend on and located just a block away from our current location,” Melissa Reed, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Keystone, said in a press release.

“We are so grateful to the community members who have shown their support of Planned Parenthood Keystone and the Wilkes-Barre Health Center,” Reed added. “They have built a movement in their community and have shown together we are unstoppable.”

Greco wrote that Planned Parenthood has been an important part of the Wilkes-Barre community for more than 80 years and he believes “it was important for the patients who depend on Planned Parenthood to continue to be able to access the broad range of services they provide.”

“I believe Planned Parenthood Keystone has an important place in our community and to interrupt it after almost 85 years would not be fair to our community,” Greco wrote.

Planned Parenthood offers a number of services including birth control, HIV testing, LGBT services, women’s and men’s health care, Pap smears, breast exams, postpartum exams, cervical cancer screenings, the morning after pill, pregnancy testing and services, testing for sexually transmitted diseases, adoption, prenatal and menopausal services, testing and treat for urinary tract infections and vaccines.

Casey Roncoroni, senior director of development for Planned Parenthood, said abortion services were not provided in Wilkes-Barre “although there is a growing need for this reproductive care locally.” She said abortion services will not be offered at the new location and there are no plans for a second location to offer them.

“Right now we are focused on our relocation and ensuring that our patients have uninterrupted access to the reproductive health care and sexuality education they have relied on us to provide for decades,” Roncoroni said.

Patients seeking care not available at the Wilkes-Barre health center, including abortion services, will continue to be referred to other locations, she said.

The closest Planned Parenthood facility that provides abortion services is about 60 miles away in Allentown.

Planned Parenthood offers emergency contraception at its Wilkes-Barre health center, Roncoroni said.

There will be no disruption in services as Planned Parenthood moves to its location in Wilkes-Barre, she said.

The announcement that Planned Parenthood is staying in Wilkes-Barre followed a rally that was held in support of the organization on Public Square on Nov. 24.

Kara Dooner, who organized the rally, said she is thrilled that Planned Parenthood will stay in Wilkes-Barre.

“I think our rally really sent out a really great message and I think we brought a lot of awareness to the area about the importance of Planned Parenthood,” the 20-year-old West Pittston resident said.

She said although it’s “unfortunate” that abortion services will not be offered, she is happy that the rest of their services will remain in the area. College students are among those will benefit from the services that Planned Parenthood offers, she said.

Anti-abortion activist Ada Magni of West Wyoming said she is “disappointed” that Planned Parenthood will remain in the area.

She said although it was a “victory for us” that Planned Parenthood will not offer abortion services in Wilkes-Barre, the organization still refers women to other locations including Allentown for abortion.

Planned Parenthood in Wilkes-Barre also still offers the morning after pill which Magni said “will kill an unborn child.” She said Planned Parenthood also still remains the largest provider of abortions in the nation. Magni and other anti-abortion activists will pray in front of Planned Parenthood’s location at 63 N. Franklin St. in Wilkes-Barre at 9 a.m. today. They have been praying in front of the facility for the last eight years during “40 Days of Life” in an effort to end abortion.

Next year, she said they will pray in front of Planned Parenthood’s new location on North Main Street on the first Friday of the month.

According to court documents, First National Bank of Pennsylvania filed a mortgage foreclosure action on the property at 101-105 N. Main St. in 2012.

The bank alleged that Greco entered into an open-end construction mortgage with the bank in exchange for a $1.6 million loan on or about Aug. 15, 2002. Court documents say that Greco had not made a payment since July 23, 2012.

Greco filed a counterclaim for damages arguing there were no defaults, the bank was in error and the mortgage foreclosure was improperly filed.

In his email, he wrote that a third party who holds the mortgage settled with him on the mortgage foreclosure claim. In that settlement agreement, he wrote, the third party mortgage holder was released from damages “for the error of the original bank.”

Luzerne County Judge Lesa Gelb ruled in favor of the bank in July. Greco has filed an appeal in state Superior Court.

“We disagree with Judge Gelb’s decision,” Greco said. “It is our position that the original bank is still responsible for damages and the bank was not released from damages related to the settlement agreement.”

Contact the writer:

dallabaugh@citizensvoice.com

570-821-2115, @CVAllabaugh

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