Friday, June 3, 2011

Kudos to Washtenaw County Board Chairman Conan Smith for standing with Planned Parenthood


"Planned Parenthood proves every year and every cycle that the dollars we allocate go to provide the service that they have applied to provide and that they do it very well,"  --Washtenaw County Board Chaiman Conan Smith addressing citizen concerns about county money allocated to Planned Parenthood as part of a community-based human services program.

When I participated in the Breast Cancer 3-Day walk five years ago, I was surprised when a potential donor told me she could not give me a contribution because the Susan G. Komen foundation gives money to Planned Parenthood -- an organization that performs abortions.

I called my coach and asked if she had heard this before.

"Yeah, we get a couple every year,"  she said.

And yes, Komen does give money to Planned Parenthood.  The funds are earmarked for breast health programs and have nothing to do with abortion services.

My coach told me that Planned Parenthood reaches many women who live in under-served areas and might not otherwise have access to health care.

However, that perception of Planned Parenthood as a primary abortion provider still exists, as shown in a recent meeting of the Washtenaw County board of commissioners.

The board voted unanimously to allocate $1 million from the county's annual fund for community-based human services programs.

According to Ann

"Before the vote, several residents spoke out against the proposed use of taxpayer dollars to fund Planned Parenthood, one of several agencies slated to receive money. According to the plan approved by commissioners, the county will give the agency $53,040 for comprehensive prenatal care  — medical care given to pregnant women to ensure they and their babies are healthy and strong.

Multiple residents argued against funding an agency they consider immoral for promoting abortion, but county officials said none of the money is going to fund abortion services."

Some residents, "read graphic descriptions of abortions with accounts of the decapitation and dismemberment of fetuses."

The voice of reason was County Board Chairman Conan Smith, D-Ann Arbor.

He said, as did my 3-Day coach, that there usually is a handful of people who complain about the county's allocation to Planned Parenthood every year and added that any particular organization's mission is its own business — all the county is interested in is the outcome of the services for which it provides funding.

He added that Planned Parenthood does this very well.

Email or call Commissioner Smith and thank him for standing with Planned Parenthood.

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