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Planned Parenthood urges O.C. supervisors to reinstate contract

April 08, 2009|Christine Hanley
  • Bob Cielnicky applauded the supervisors? decision last month to end funding for the health education program provided by Planned Parenthood, which performs abortions.
Bob Cielnicky applauded the supervisors? decision last month to end funding… (Mark Boster / Los Angeles…)

Planned Parenthood representatives and their supporters urged the Orange County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday to reverse a decision to suspend a contract with the nonprofit group to provide health education for thousands of teens and preteens.

About 40 members of local chapters of Planned Parenthood and women's groups and concerned citizens criticized supervisors for citing their own beliefs about abortion as a reason for pulling the $291,788 health education contract.

Supervisors voted unanimously last month to suspend the contract because, they said, they did not want to provide funding to an organization that performs abortions. None of the county money, however, was used to fund abortions, Planned Parenthood representatives said.

The curriculum offered by the nonprofit organization includes information about anatomy, physiology and seven kinds of birth control -- including abstinence -- as well as about sexually transmitted diseases.

Many of those who took the dais Tuesday argued that the board's vote was unconstitutional and undermined Supreme Court decisions. One woman, a retired USC professor, suggested that depriving teens and preteens of every available educational option was "the equivalent of modern-day book burning."

Not everyone was opposed to the board's action. Bob and Beverly Cielnicky of Fountain Valley applauded the decision to cut off the funding.

The contract was approved last year through a $7.5-million agreement with the Coalition of Orange County Community Clinics and funded through tobacco settlement revenue.

Supervisors were presented with petitions signed by about 4,000 citizens who support restoring the funding. No action was taken because the issue was not on the agenda.

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christine.hanley@latimes.com

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