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

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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).

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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.