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Opinion

Center looks to relocate, services uncertain

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May 1, 2008

Want sex? Want safe sex? Want safe sex locally, yet discreetly? The Pierce County Reproductive Health Services provides contraception, testing, education and other services for a reduced price or free.

  If somehow you missed Stephanie Daniels’ informative article last week in the Voice about the Ingram Center, located on Lewis Street behind Subway, the city of River Falls is planning on tearing down the historical building to build a parking lot and a government center.

  As a female college student, I depend on the services that the Pierce County Reproductive Health Services offer as well as FISH, another business within the Ingram Center that sells used clothing at cheaper prices than you have ever seen.

  Last week I paid $1 for three shirts—some damn cool shirts at that. In addition to the clothes, they threw in two picture frames for free. FISH has been in business for 31 years and is run by cute little old ladies. If this plan by the City Council goes through, then FISH will end. It will end just like that and the nice ladies will no longer have a meaningful volunteer job, nor will I be able to purchase cheap clothes with my measly college student paychecks.

  The Ingram Center also houses businesses such as the Senior Center and the Park and Recreation Center. This building is a major community center, and provides services for everyone. 

  Although Reproductive Health Services says they are looking for a new location on account of the plan of destruction for the Ingram Center, their current location is the most ideal for their type of services. The vacancies along downtown Main Street are too exposed for people who want their health services discreet.

  Unfortunately, Daniels’ received the sub-headline “Students in need of reproductive services will look for new options” which is disconcerting. The Health Services will not be shut down; their building will be demolished.

  Of course, there are other options, like the River Falls Medical Clinic, located farther away from campus than downtown. Although they do offer some similar services, Pierce County Reproductive Health Services has more for contraceptives and has an all-female staff that is welcoming, educated and friendly. The River Falls Clinic has nurses and doctors that are not specialized in reproductive health.

  Both clinics offer the Family Planning Waiver Program, in which most college females are eligible to participate. If you are young and don’t make enough money to support an oops-baby, then you are most likely eligible.

  When I first moved to River Falls, I found this program at the River Falls Medical Clinic, but they wanted me to go to the courthouse for paperwork just so I could get free birth control. I found this to be absolutely absurd since I didn’t want to drive to Ellsworth to wait in line for questions and signatures. Fortunately I found Pierce County Reproductive Health Services, and the help I received there made me a strong advocate for what they do, what they believe in and their free condoms.

  Teresa is a journalism major and geography minor in her senior year. She enjoys kangaroo burgers and creating pretty maps.

Teresa Aviles is a student at UW-River Falls.