Planned Parenthood announces $6.5 million gift, new Uptown clinic

Planned Parenthood announced Monday it will expand its facilities in the Upper Midwest, starting with a new 'state of the art' healthcare facility in place of the current Minneapolis-Uptown location.

A majority of the funding for the nonprofit’s three-year initiative comes from a $6.5 million donated by an anonymous Minnesota couple.

Connie Lewis, former vice-president of external affairs for Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota, said the donors are "fierce defenders of women having the right to access the healthcare that they need, so it is very, very gratifying to accept that."

Across the three states served in our region, Planned Parenthood sees 66,000 patients annually.

"Our patients aren't making a political statement when they come for care to Planned Parenthood," Lewis said.

Planned Parenthood provides contraception, STD testing, treatment, OB-GYN services, cancer screenings and privately-funded abortions. The organization also refers patients to other resources when they are making decisions about unplanned pregnancies.

"No federal funds can be used to pay for abortion - none. That's been a law for a long time. So, the funds being discussed in de-funding Planned Parenthood is reimbursement for contraception, cancer screening and treatment," Lewis said.

The organization has provided reproductive healthcare for 100 years. Since the election, the number of donors has doubled.

"They want to help ensure that Planned Parenthood is here to provide services for another 100 years," she said.

Remaining funds will be used to upgrade the existing 19 health care clinics and build a new health care facility at the Uptown clinic, which sees about 13,000 patients every single year. Planned Parenthood says it is also looking at building new clinics in areas that are not currently served by the organization.

"We're so pleased that we'll be able to make sure all of our clinics reflect the patient experience we want to provide," Lewis said.