From The Colorado Independent's John Tomasic

Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains announced this week that it is launching a new breast cancer prevention and screening project at its Arvada clinic.

The project is being funded with cash donated in response to news last spring that the juggernaut cancer-fighting Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation, reportedly steered by anti-abortion executive Karen Handel, had decided to discontinue its long-standing grant funding for the Planned Parenthood national organization.

In the wake of the controversial announcement, donors gave $67,000 to Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, Communications Director Monica McCafferty told the Independent.

Staffers at the new Arvada Breast Health Services Project funded by the donations will provide cancer examinations and education training. McCafferty said her organization hopes to continue funding the project in part with repeat donations.

The Arvada clinic had previously offered only minimal breast health services. It was not, for example, one of the Planned Parenthood clinics in the state that receive breast health funding through the Komen Foundation’s Denver and Aspen affiliates. That money goes to programs at clinics in Greeley, Fort Collins, Aurora and Glenwood Springs.

The Arvada clinic served 8,000 patients last year, nearly 70 percent of whom carried no health insurance, according to a Planned Parenthood release. The release added that Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains screened 15,452 women for breast cancer last year.

The regional Planned Parenthood organization operates 23 clinics in Colorado, three in Nevada and one each in Wyoming and New Mexico.

As news broke in January of Komen’s intended shift in funding away from Planned Parenthood, negative public reaction exploded. Some donors said they felt that Komen, the nation’s top charity battling breast cancer, was putting politics above women’s health. Komen was quick to reverse the decision but not before probing news stories piled up and local affiliates began pushing back. The two Komen affiliates in Colorado spearheaded resistance to the plan, announcing early on in the news cycle that they would continue to fund Planned Parenthood in Colorado because Planned Parenthood delivered the biggest bang for the buck here. Denver Komen reported that Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains received only 4.3 percent of the nearly $3 million Komen spent in the state but that Planned Parenthood clinics here detected nearly 20 percent of all of the cases of breast cancer discovered through Komen spending.

“The slogan ‘defund Planned Parenthood’ has been a popular soundbite among staunch anti-choice politicians,” McCafftery told the Independent, “but in reality, there is broad support for what Planned Parenthood does, as demonstrated by the [reaction] to the Komen announcement.”

McCafferty said 93 percent of the services Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains provides do not concern abortion.

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