Planned Parenthood clinics to close

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

The clinics closing are in Thief River Falls, Brainerd, Red Wing, Owatonna, Albert Lea and Fairmont.

The closings comes after a nearly 5.5 percent cut to Title X funding agreed to during the 2011 congressional budget debate.

The cut is retroactive to September of last year, and means a total of an 11 percent cut to Planned Parenthood's current budget.

The Title X program provides low-income women with services such as birth control, annual exams, and other screenings.

Sarah Stoesz, president Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota said staffing and hours at other Minnesota clinics will be expanded to serve the needs of rural Minnesotans.

"We are hoping that the patients in some of the smaller communities, such as Red Wing, will be able to come to some of the larger hub clinics, such as Rochester, where we will be expanding hours into the evening and throughout the weekend to be able to meet patients," Stoesz said.

The clinics closing serve about 4,500 of the 65,000 women served by Planned Parenthood in Minnesota and the Dakotas each year, according to Planned Parenthood.

"The loss of six greater Minnesota Planned Parenthood clinics will mean a reduction of family planning services and primary health care for women where access is already limited in rural Minnesota," State Rep. Erin Murphy (DFL-St. Paul) said in a statement. "Especially for young women and those of limited financial means, the loss of these clinics will be real and immediate."

The closures will be effective August 1st.