Planned Parenthood affiliates in Indiana, Kentucky to merge

Affiliates of Planned Parenthood in Indiana and Kentucky plan to merge on July 1 in an effort to pool resources, meet the challenges of the changing health care landscape, and potentially expand their reproductive-health services. 

The new not-for-profit is expected to be named Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky—or PPINK—and continue to operate the 28 existing health centers between the two states. The group will be based in Indianapolis, and employ 190 people in its health centers and administrative office.

Betty Cockrum, president and CEO of the Indiana organization, will serve in the same role for the merged group. Officials with Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Planned Parenthood of Kentucky planned separate announcements Monday in Louisville and Indianapolis.

“We will serve our patients better and we will strengthen our voice to better educate and advocate for sexuality education and reproductive health care and justice,” Cockrum said in prepared comments.

Mergers are common among the Planned Parenthood affiliates, according to the organization. At one time, the national Planned Parenthood family had more than 200 affiliates; there are now just 73.

Both Indiana and Kentucky affiliates have experience with mergers. PPIN merged multiple times to become a statewide affiliate in 2004. Louisville and Lexington groups joined together in 2008 to become Planned Parenthood of Kentucky. 

Planned Parenthood of Indiana currently operates the lion’s share of the health centers, accounting for 26 of the 28 to be included in the merger. The remaining two are in Kentucky.

The combined organization will “allow us to to better address the sadly unmet need for family-planning services throughout Kentucky,” said Kim Greene, chairwoman of the PPKY board.

All 28 of the health centers will continue to offer preventive health care services such as Pap tests, breast and testicular exams, STD testing and treatment, and birth control. The four Indiana centers that perform abortions will continue to do so, according to a Planned Parenthood spokesperson. Planned Parenthood performs more than 5,000 abortions each year in Indiana. The Kentucky centers do not perform abortions.

Indiana is among more than a dozen states that have enacted or considered laws to prevent taxpayers' money from funding organizations that provide abortions. In 2011, the Indiana General Assembly passed legislation making Indiana the first state to cut off all government funding for Planned Parenthood. Gov. Mitch Daniels signed the legislation.

The status of the measure has since been clouded by court challenges and appeals.

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