The Daily Tar Heel

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Saturday August 13th

Planned Parenthood sees more donations after threats from Komen, NC General Assembly

CORRECTION: Due to a reporting error, the original version of this story incorrectly said that Ana Maria Reichenbach is a member of Feminist Students United. She is no longer an active member of the organization. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for the error.

Senior Ana Maria Reichenbach’s grandfather hasn’t always seen eye-to-eye with her on politics.

But after he heard that Susan G. Komen for the Cure withdrew funds from Planned Parenthood, he wrote the latter a big check.

She said he wanted to support the cancer screenings Planned Parenthood offers, saying politics and health shouldn’t mix.

“It was really funny for me to hear him say something like that, because he gives me crap for being a feminist all the time,” said Reichenbach, a former member of Feminist Students United.

The Komen foundation and N.C. General Assembly’s threats to cut Planned Parenthood funding have led to increased financial support from other sources for the central North Carolina Planned Parenthood clinic in Chapel Hill, said spokeswoman Paige Johnson.

She said the Chapel Hill clinic has especially seen increases in support from first-time donors, like Reichenbach’s grandfather, and young donors.

“People called and said they had never been donors before but were really upset about political issues getting involved in health,” Johnson said.

Planned Parenthood is also still fighting against a North Carolina law prohibiting state funds from going to the organization.

“We have been under constant assault from the North Carolina legislature, so we’ve seen a steady outpouring of support,” Johnson said.

After the N.C. General Assembly eliminated state funding for Planned Parenthood last spring, the organization regained the funding with a court injunction in August.

In response to the media attention surrounding the controversies, Johnson predicted donations would be up this year.

Grants and contributions accounted for nearly half of the central North Carolina clinic’s revenue in 2010, which is the most recent year for which data is available.

During the same year the clinic’s expenses for health care services — including cancer screenings — were about $3.6 million, and they received about $1.4 million in contributions and donations.

She said part of the increased support is from college students’ fundraising and advocacy efforts.

“There’s a lot of support from students because they come to us for birth control, and they come out when they feel that’s threatened,” she said.

UNC’s chapter of Vox: Voices for Planned Parenthood has become more active in the past month, Reichenbach said.

“It’s important for students to be out there and supporting these organizations who are supporting people who need them, especially young people without resources,” she said.

Komen eventually chose to reinstate funding, but not all students are in favor of that decision.

“It was a good decision for the Susan G. Komen Foundation to cease its funding of Planned Parenthood,” UNC senior Christina Geradts, president of Carolina Students for Life, said in an email.

“I still believe that Planned Parenthood does not have women’s best interests in mind.”

Johnson said the clinic saw an increase in patients in the days following the announcement of the foundation pulling funding.

Most of the Chapel Hill clinic’s patients are women who are in their 20s and 30s, she said, but it is impossible to know how many are students.

UNC students are referred to Planned Parenthood by Campus Health Services if it fits their insurance needs and the women’s health clinic doesn’t offer the necessary care, said Carol Kozel, director of nursing services at Campus Health Services.

Even if they don’t use Planned Parenthood, Reichenbach said students should stand behind it.

“My hope is that more women and men, more young people, start seeing that this is in their interest,” Reichenbach said.

But Geradts disagreed.

“Pro-lifers will not donate to an organization which directly donates to and funds a leading abortion provider,” she said in an email.

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