News Politics

Colorado County Commission Eliminates Funding to Planned Parenthood Affiliate For No Real Reason

Robin Marty

They do a fine job, said the commissioner who proposed not renewing funds.

If there was any doubt that the move to de-fund local Planned Parenthood clinics is about nothing but ideology, one county commissioner removed it when he proposed refusing to continue a $5000.00 grant to the local affiliate to support needed health services for women.

Just because.

Via The Post Independent:

“This is one that I just have to take a stand on,” Commission Chairman John Martin said in calling into question a continued Planned Parenthood grant that was recommended by the county’s Human Services Commission.

Like This Story?

Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

Donate Now

“They’re a big national organization, and I think they have enough outside resources without using money that could benefit some of the local organizations whose budgets are smaller,” Martin said. “I understand they do a good job … this is not an insult. I just think they need to stand on their own.”

According to the report, every other grant requested was financed, to a total of over $400,000.

Martin, a Republican, already made news last year for supporting the idea of opening the meetings with a prayer, according to the Colorado Independent. The prayer proposal was pitched by fellow commissioner Mike Samson, who provided the other vote to refuse funding. Commissioner Tom Jankovsky was the sole vote to continue to provide the funds, despite Jankovsky’s opposition to the grant during a six-member review prior to the vote.

John Stroud reports that the $5000.00, which was approximately 5 percent of the health center’s local budget, will be kept on reserve by the commission for “additional human service grant requests” that might come in during 2013.

News Contraception

Colorado County That Nixed Planned Parenthood Grant Rejects Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program

Jason Salzman

Garfield County is eschewing a successful contraceptive program in favor of the Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP), which focuses on “abstinence-focused comprehensive sexual health education.”

The same Colorado county that recently nixed a $1,500 grant for Planned Parenthood is now refusing to join a statewide program that has proven to be among the nation’s most effective in reducing teen pregnancy and abortions.

Garfield County is not part of the Colorado Family Planning Initiative, which is credited in large part for decreasing the state’s teen pregnancy and abortion rate by nearly 50 percent over six years despite continual Republican opposition to the program’s funding. The initiative provides intrauterine devices (IUDs) and other implants at low or no cost, but only in participating counties.

Garfield County eschews the contraceptive program in favor of the Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP), which focuses on “abstinence-focused comprehensive sexual health education.”

“[Garfield] Public Health has never administered this program because it would be a duplication of service,” Garfield County Public Health Special Projects Coordinator Carrie Godes wrote in an email to Rewire. “Though no agencies in Garfield County run a state (CDPHE) Family Planning program, Mountain Family Health Center and Planned Parenthood provide family planning services.”

Like This Story?

Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

Donate Now

“We refer clients to these other providers if they come to us seeking family planning services,” Godes wrote. She did not respond to question about who was responsible for the decision to not be part of the state Family Planning Initiative.

Only Title X clinics can participate in the Family Planning Initiative. Since that does not include the providers cited by Godes, they do not have state funding to offer long acting reversible contraception (LARC) for free or reduced cost to low-income women and teens.

While Colorado’s teen pregnancy rate decreased by half from 2009 through 2014, Garfield’s rate increased from 13.6 percent to 19.6 percent from 2010 to 2013, then dropped to 9.6 percent in 2014, according to state data.

The Post Independent points to neighboring Eagle and Montrose counties, which are part of the state family planning program, showing significant reductions in teen pregnancy and abortion rates—well below Garfield County’s.

In an editorial, the Post Independent called on Garfield County commissioners to join Colorado’s pregnancy prevention program.

“Garfield County should embrace the state’s success and work to prevent more teen pregnancy, which drops the abortion rate, saves money and keeps teens from making their lives and their ill-conceived children’s lives immensely more difficult,” stated the editorial. “That’s pro-life, that’s fiscally sound, that’s level-headed leadership — unlike the symbolic political step of blocking a tiny grant and exacerbating division.”

Garfield County Commissioner Tom Jankovsky, a Republican who led the local Planned Parenthood defunding effort, did not return repeated phone calls seeking comment. But he’s stated that family planning services are available in the area.

“It’s not that those services aren’t available,” Jankovsky told the Post Independent.

But as many scholars and health organizations have pointed out, community health clinics won’t be able to accommodate all patients in need if Planned Parenthood centers close their doors.

Organizers who launched an online fundraising campaign to replace the $1,500 grant withdrawn by Jankovsky and his fellow GOP county commissioners presented Planned Parenthood with a $25,000 check on Tuesday.

News Abortion

GOP-Led Planned Parenthood Defunding Effort in Colorado County Prompts Fundraising Campaign

Jason Salzman

An area resident launched an online fundraising program that's raised more than $16,000 in response to a decision by county commissioners in Colorado to withdraw a $1,500 grant for a cancer-screening program at a Planned Parenthood health center.

After county commissioners in rural Colorado withdrew a $1,500 grant for a cervical cancer prevention program at the Planned Parenthood-run Glenwood Springs Health Center, an area resident launched an online fundraising effort that’s raised more than $16,000 in three days.

“Planned Parenthood has been pretty influential in my life, especially before I had a career and health insurance,” organizer Ashley Johnson told the Glenwood Springs Post Independent. “A lot of us in the community felt strongly that this is such an important cause.”

As of Friday, November 6, the GoFundMe page for the Planned Parenthood fundraising effort shows more than a thousand shares, and it sits in the number five slot on the Colorado subreddit page on Reddit.com.

The Planned Parenthood funding was nixed after Commissioner Tom Jankovsky told his fellow Republican Garfield County commissioners that he had received “very partisan and very political” emails from Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado (PPVC).

Like This Story?

Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

Donate Now

Jankovsky did not return a call for comment and has yet to provide information about the emails that offended him.

The Glenwood Springs Health Center is run by Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, not PPVC, which is a lobbying group focused on political issues.

“Planned Parenthood has been in the news a lot lately, and it has become political,” Cathy Alderman, vice president of public affairs for PPVC, explained to the Post Independent, adding that PPVC “gives us a voice to speak to some limited electoral activities.”

Planned Parenthood’s $1,500 Garfield County grant was included in more than $400,000 in funding for human service organizations and programs.

The Planned Parenthood funds were to be used strictly for cervical cancer screenings, Alderman told Rewire, but the Glenwood Springs Health Center offers a full range of women’s health services, including testing for HIV and sexually transmitted diseases, family planning, and abortion services.

Jankovsky told the Post Independent that, contrary to what he’s heard from “Planned Parenthood and its supporters,” the health center’s services are available at other clinics in his region, not just at Planned Parenthood.

But as many scholars and health organizations have pointed out, community health clinics won’t be able to accommodate all patients in need if Planned Parenthood centers close their doors. In 103 counties with a health center run by Planned Parenthood, the health-care provider “serves all of the women obtaining publicly supported contraceptive services from a safety-net health center,” according to the Guttmacher Institute.