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Local News

April 2, 2013

Planned Parenthood, ex-affiliate squabble over local funds

The national Planned Parenthood organization has approved expansion of its Southern Finger Lakes affiliate into Otsego, Delaware, Chenango and Broome counties, where it will compete for funding with Family Planning of South Central New York.

The latter group was affiliated with Planned Parenthood Federation of America until March 1, when it cut ties with the national group rather than comply with a mandate to perform some abortions in at least one of its clinics instead of making referrals to abortion providers.

The application by Planned Parenthood of the Southern Finger Lakes, which is based in Ithaca, was approved Wednesday by the national group’s Affiliate Development and Accreditation Committee, according to a letter obtained by The Daily Star.

The South Central group announced its plan to disaffiliate in late November, saying that it did not want to compete with the private clinic that provides most of the abortions in the region and possibly force it to close.

“Dr. Amy Cousins at Southern Tier Women’s Services has been in the Binghamton area for many years and provides 2,000 abortion procedures annually,” Debra Marcus, the chief executive of the Family Planning of South Central New York, said Monday. “If our agency were to provide a few hundred abortions and effectively drive her away, abortion access in our area would substantially decrease, contrary to our mission of aiming to maintain and increase reproductive access.”

Peg Johnston, director of Southern Tier Women’s Services, issued a statement Monday, supporting Family Planning of South Central New York.

“The recent proposal by Planned Parenthood of the Southern Finger Lakes to try to provide services already being offered by Family Planning of South Central N.Y. and Dr. Cousins, is unnecessary and will actually jeopardize access rather than ensure it,” the statement said.

It was unclear Monday how many abortions the Southern Finger Lakes group was planning to perform in the four-county area, but “five a week would jeopardize our practice,” Johnston said.

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