By Scott Tibbs, June 19, 2004
As expected, the Bloomington City Council approved a $2900 grant for Planned Parenthood of Greater Indiana as part of a pot of money the city distributed to social service agencies. The vote was 6-0. Jason Banach and Mike Diekhoff were absent and Chris Sturbaum abstained. However, I wish to address statements made by two City Council members.
District V council member David Sabbagh said that it's unfortunate that there has to be "controversy" in the discussion about funding social service agencies. The reason that there is controversy is because of the City Council, year after year, has given taxpayer money to Planned Parenthood. The City Council knows that many in the community have deep moral objections Planned Parenthood, America's #1 abortion provider.
It has been demonstrated repeatedly that Planned Parenthood does not need the money the City Council has given to it, because the national corporation consistently has an "income in excess of expenditures" (profit) in the millions of dollars. The national corporation could easily meet the needs of the local branch. On top of that, the local branch has plenty of money as well.
Given the fact that it is the City Council's own actions that cause this controversy and the fact that PP does not need the money it gets from the City Council, the only ones to blame for this controversy are the City Council members themselves. Furthermore, since PP does not need the money they requested, it looks like Planned Parenthood is seeking a political endorsement from city government with the people's tax money.
At-large member Chris Gaal objected to the notion that one specific "religious view" or "political agenda" could prevent funds from going to Planned Parenthood. This is illogical. Government at all levels makes moral decisions all the time, as Andy Ruff pointed out two years ago. For example, when the City Council voted for a resolution to oppose the war in Iraq, they did so on primarily moral reasons. People opposed to taxpayer subsidies for Planned Parenthood also base their views on moral reasons. If the City Council disagrees with the moral views expressed, that is fine, but they cannot consistently say that moral views cannot enter into public policy decisions.
The City Council members who voted for the funding package this year (and in previous years) said that they support Planned Parenthood and their mission. That is their prerogative in a free society. They do not, however, have to do so with the people's money.