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Planned Parenthood closes 6 clinics for budget reasons

Planned Parenthood will close six clinics in Minnesota due to cuts in government funding.

Planned Parenthood will close six clinics in Minnesota due to cuts in government funding. Staff and hours at other clinics will be expanded, though.

Officials of Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota said cuts to the Title X family planning program mean these clinics will close Aug. 1:

  • Thief River Falls
  • Brainerd
  • Red Wing
  • Owatonna
  • Albert Lea
  • Fairmont

“We proudly served these communities for 40 years, and the decision to close our doors is heartbreaking,” said President and CEO Sarah Stoesz. “We know that both state and federal governments are struggling to balance their budgets, but we also know that public funding for family planning services is a cost-saving and vital service for tens of thousands of women in our state, especially in rural areas. This was a short-sighted blow to a much-needed program.”

Planned Parenthood will continue to operate clinics in 20 locations across Minnesota and South Dakota and will increase staff and hours at clinics in Rochester, Mankato, Moorhead, Duluth and St. Cloud.

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The cuts are due to a  5.5 percent cut to Title X funding during the 2011 congressional budget debate, Planned Parenthood said. The cut is retroactive to September of last year so it represents an 11 percent cut to Planned Parenthood’s current budget, they said.

The Title X program provides low-income women with such services as birth control, annual gynecological exams, STI testing and treatment and cervical and breast cancer screenings. About 53,000 women are served at Planned Parenthood’s Title X supported clinics across Minnesota. President Richard Nixon signed the law enabling Title X in 1970.

“These cuts were driven by ideological attacks on women’s health, not by a desire to fix the economy,” said Stoesz. “But we will never give up the fight for our patients, no matter what political and financial obstacles we face. Planned Parenthood has been a fabric of this community for more than 80 years, and we are here to stay.”