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Knoxville reproductive health clinics see uptick in patients since Planned Parenthood closure, fire

Several Knoxville clinics are reporting an increase in patient numbers since a closure and fire at Planned Parenthood.
Jared Austin is on scene with an update on the fire at a Knoxville Planned Parenthood location.
Published: Jan. 5, 2022 at 2:14 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Knoxville’s reproductive health clinic locations are seeing an uptick in patients following a closure and fire at the city’s Planned Parenthood location. The location was originally closed on Dec. 7 for renovations, and suffered a fire on New Year’s Eve.

WVLT News spoke with Knoxville Center for Reproductive Health Co-Director Corinne Robetti about the increase in patient numbers.

“Our phones went berserk” following the closure of the Knoxville Planned Parenthood, Robetti said. Planned Parenthood is referring patients to one of three locations now that the Knoxville center is closed. Those locations are Planned Parenthood locations in Memphis and Nashville and the Knoxville Center for Reproductive Health. Patients are understandably choosing to visit the local location, which is causing a major increase in patient numbers, Robetti said.

Workers at the Knoxville Center for Reproductive Health have faced challenges getting people the care they need.

Usually, patients can receive care within a week at the KCRH, but now the clinic is seeing one and two-week waiting periods for patients, Robetti said. This can be especially challenging for patients in need of abortions, which are time-sensitive procedures.

Reproductive health centers are often the center of controversy because they offer abortion services. Clinics do not only offer abortions, however. The clinics can be essential for a persons health, offering gynecologic services, birth control and information for those interested in becoming parents. Reproductive clinics also offer financial advice and planning for potential parents.

WVLT News also spoke with Kelsey Wilson, a representative with the Knoxville Women’s Health Clinic, which is the reproductive health center of the Knox County Health Department. The clinic offers information on family planning and breast and cervical cancer screenings.

Wilson told WVLT News that they have also seen an increase in patients since Planned Parenthood’s closure in the ballpark of 10-15%. Wilson also said that the clinic uses a sliding pay scale, and no one will be denied service for the inability to pay.

Authorities are still investigating the fire at Planned Parenthood. While they cannot confirm a cause, they did tell WVLT News that an arson investigator was on scene.

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