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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, June 27, 2001

Planned Parenthood reinstates local affiliate

By Curtis Lum
Advertiser Staff Writer

Family Planning Centers of Hawai'i has rejoined Planned Parenthood Federation of America, three years after the local organization was ousted as an affiliate.

The federation's board approved the local nonprofit organization as its Hawai'i affiliate Saturday and accredited it for four years.

The local organization, founded in 1966, gets to use its original name, Planned Parenthood of Hawai'i, and rejoin the 129 affiliates that operate 875 health centers nationwide.

Barry Raff, Planned Parenthood of Hawai'i executive director, said the reaffiliation is a "win-win" for the local group and the women of Hawai'i.

He said the Planned Parenthood name brings more credibility and provides better access to national grants.

"While the health care in Hawai'i isn't going to change because of the name change, the change will bring more visibility, certainly increase name recognition," Raff said.

He added that the national organization will help in Planned Parenthood of Hawai'i's fight at the Legislature against anti-abortion bills.

The reaffiliation put an end to a bitter split between the two groups three years ago.

In February 1998, the national federation voted to oust the Hawai'i group because it failed to meet "governance and financial standards."

Planned Parenthood of Hawai'i officials acknowledged the financial problems, but said they also were facing a forced merger with the San Diego affiliate and resisting an effort to take away local control.

The local organization changed its name but continued to offer the same family-planning, counseling and medical services.

During the three years, Raff said, the national organization changed and focused more on supporting its affiliates than just reviewing them.

The number of women visiting Hawai'i's three clinics did drop by about 5 percent since 1998. But Raff said he hopes the participation rate will increase now that Plan-ned Parenthood has regained its affiliation.

"In the last three years we weren't in the federation's firing line. We weren't having to worry about their reviews and it allowed us to concentrate on our issues," Raff said. "In the last two years, we've just done tremendously financially. We're absolutely debt-free."