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Planned Parenthood's Appleton clinic will remain closed

Planned Parenthood to no longer offer abortions in Appleton

"This unfortunate tragedy took place a month following what was meant to be a temporary suspension of services at the Appleton North Planned Parenthood facility located at 3800 N. Gillett Street to address a staffing shortage", said Teri Huyck, CEO Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin in a statement.

The Appleton clinic suspended operations previous year due to a staffing shortage. Women in northern and central Wisconsin, however, may have to drive hundreds of miles to reach those facilities.

Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin will permanently shutter one of its three abortion clinics in the state, leaving Madison and Milwaukee as the only cities in Wisconsin offering abortions.

Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin is closing its Appleton abortion clinic, preventing women from accessing abortion anywhere north of Madison and Milwaukee in the state.

"We have never participated in that", Weininger said.

The decision follows a nationwide review of safety and security at Planned Parenthood clinics nationwide, in the wake of a deadly attack at a Colorado Springs clinic last fall that killed three people and wounded several others.

The Madison and Milwaukee Planned Parenthood clinics perform about 3,400 abortions combined each year.

The national Planned Parenthood organization recommended affiliates review their security after the Colorado Springs shooting, said Chris Williams, chief operating officer of Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin. Another provider, Affiliated Medical Services, also has an abortion clinic in Milwaukee.

Julaine Appling, president of Wisconsin Family Action, a conservative group that advocates for the traditional family and anti-abortion causes, applauded the decision to close the clinic.

Planned Parenthood conducted an evaluation of building security and security protocol and determined "the Appleton facility was just not going to be able to meet the stringent ... approach that we need to take", said Williams.

As governor, Walker has signed into law some of the most aggressive abortion restrictions in the nation.

Making sure women in northern Wisconsin had access to abortion was one of the arguments Planned Parenthood used to strike down the admitting privileges law.

Security upgrades to the Appleton site would have cost an estimated $300,000, said Williams. Wisconsin Right to Life Executive Director Heather Weininger said the organization does not believe in violence at abortion clinics or encourage it. The property is assessed at about $140,000, he said.

Women will still be able to obtain abortions at Planned Parenthood clinics in Madison and Milwaukee.

Staff at the Appleton clinic will be relocated to other Planned Parenthood locations in Wisconsin, officials said.

Williams said the organization may look to resume services in the future.