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Planned Parenthood Clinic In El Centro Gets Final Safety Approval, Drops Lawsuit

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After weeks of delay and a looming lawsuit, the fire chief in El Centro has given his final clearance for the first Planned Parenthood clinic in the Imperial Valley.

Photo caption: Planned Parenthood new clinic in El Centro is shown on May 5, 2015.

Photo credit: Nic McVicker

Planned Parenthood new clinic in El Centro is shown on May 5, 2015.

Imperial County's high teen pregnancy rate and a dearth of family planing services, might have meant smooth sailing for the region's first Planned Parenthood clinic.

Things haven't worked out that way.

But after weeks of delays and a looming lawsuit, the El Centro fire chief has signed the clinic's final fire safety clearance.

Planned Parenthood sued the chief and the city of El Centro last week, for failing to issue the final approval.

The fire chief had said the clinic should be reclassified as an outpatient surgery center, which would have required expensive upgrades.

In the meantime, the clinic has not been allowed to perform abortions, and has been open only 20 hours a week.

Planned Parenthood attorney Tracy Skaddan said none of this had to happen.

"It’s very discouraging, and especially to be in the state of California and have to face these kinds of problems," Skaddan said. "There’s really no excuse. But we're ready to move forward.”

Skaddan said Planned Parenthood has dropped its suit, and plans to open the clinic on a full-time basis as soon as it receives a license from the California Department of Public Health.

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