Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Reproductive health care clinic is a step closer to opening in Las Cruces • Source New Mexico

A new reproductive health clinic on Wednesday got the go-ahead from the University of New Mexico’s Board of Regents to move forward with its building plans. The group planning the clinic can now purchase land for it.

The state approved $10 million last year for a reproductive health center in Doña Ana County. Since then, UNM and Planned Parenthood along with local advocacy organizations Bold Futures New Mexico and Strong Families New Mexico have worked together and engaged other community groups to form a plan for the center.

Heather Smith with Bold Futures said this will help fill a large gap in services in Southern New Mexico.

“Our communities have been lacking reproductive services for decades,” she told the UNM Board of Regents. “Often, we have to travel an hour to El Paso, or several hours to Albuquerque or Santa Fe, to get to receive the services that we need.”

The center is set to include basic gynecological care, contraception, gender affirming care, miscarriage management, abortion and preventative care.

The land acquisition, slated for the Lohman Medical Park campus in Las Cruces, passed on a 6 to 1 vote. UNM Medical Group will run the 8,000-square-foot clinic.

A year later, Southern N.M. still waiting on location for state reproductive health clinic

The contract price for the land is $1,030,630, which will come out of the state appropriation for the project.

Charlene Bencomo is the executive director of Bold Futures. She said that coordinating between so many organizations and people has been complicated, but she feels the end result will address patient frustrations with their current health care options, beyond bringing it closer.

“Medical providers, birth workers want to take care of patients, and we want to let them. We don’t want to have to be restricted by the ways that insurance works or the ways that they don’t have enough time to see the patients,” she said.

Bencomo said now, they can finish negotiating the land deal and start designing and staffing the clinic. They also plan to work with UNM to start a training program and the New Mexico Doula Association on incorporating doula care into the center.

This coverage is made possible by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and KUNM listeners.

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