Drew Zahn is a WND news editor who cut his journalist teeth as a member of the award-winning staff of Leadership, Christianity Today's professional journal for church leaders. A former pastor, he is the editor of seven books, including Movie-Based Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching, which sparked his ongoing love affair with film and his weekly WND column, "Popcorn and a (world)view."More ↓Less ↑
Prompted in part by a series of undercover videos exposing legal abuses at Planned Parenthood abortion clinics, California’s Orange County Board of Supervisors this week drafted a new policy preventing any of the county’s $37 million in tobacco settlement revenue from paying for abortions.
WND reported the story of Lila Rose, a college student who, through her Live Action Films ministry, has visited Planned Parenthood facilities around the nation under cover, taking with her a witness and a hidden camera, revealing clinic workers either concealing statutory rape or advising a patient on how to avoid various abortion restrictions.
When California businessman Mark Bucher saw Rose’s videos, he sent them to Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach and challenged the board to rethink a grant of nearly $300,000 awarded to Planned Parenthood for “sex education programs.”
“I have never gotten riled up about Planned Parenthood getting taxpayer money to do abortions,” Bucher told the Los Angeles Times. “I got riled up when I saw that this organization doesn’t care about their legal obligation to make sure some 13-year-old girl isn’t going to be molested by a 31-year-old man anymore. No matter where you stand on the abortion issue, that ought to bother you.”
In March, the board suspended the grant to Planned Parenthood, but according to the Orange County Register, restored it in a meeting earlier this week when legal advisers warned the board against canceling contracts already established by the grant.
In looking to the future, however, the board unanimously voted to create a new policy limiting how next year’s expected $37 million in tobacco settlement revenue can be spent.
According to the new policy, the Register explains, tobacco grant money can no longer be used fund health education programs, but only direct clinical care. Further, the policy also prevents the money from being spent on abortions and prohibits funding services provided in the same location where abortions are performed. Finally, the policy requires clinics that offer counseling and family planning services where abortion is discussed to account for the grant money separately, ensuring none of the money is spent on abortion counseling or referrals.
John Dunn, president and chief executive of Planned Parenthood Orange and San Bernardino Counties, took exception to prohibiting grant money from being spent in facilities where abortions are performed.
“Clearly this is an effort to target Planned Parenthood,” Dunn told the Times.
Dunn further told the Register that Planned Parenthood intends to apply for grant money next year that would provide breast cancer exams and lab tests for uninsured women. If the county refuses the application, Dunn warned, Planned Parenthood would consider legal action.
Attorneys from the Alliance Defense Fund have offered to defend the Orange County Board of Supervisors pro bono in the event Planned Parenthood or similar pro-abortion groups challenge the new policy in court.
“Local governments are not required to provide bailout money to the abortion industry,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Steven H. Aden in a statement. “Taxpayers should not be required to foot the bill for the activities of groups which perform or promote abortions. The Orange County policy is perfectly consistent with similar federal restrictions and does not violate any state or federal laws.”
Rose said Tennessee Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey and Sen. Jack Johnson have now questioned the $700,000 of state money given to Planned Parenthood.
“Why would citizens tolerate paying the bills of an organization that protects statutory rapists and victimizes young girls?” she asked. “This is the sad result of the careless abortion-first mentality that has persisted at Planned Parenthood for decades.”
Rose has been active in other states, as well.
In a pair of Arizona investigations, Rose and co-worker Jackie Stollar posed as 15-year-olds to enter two Phoenix Planned Parenthood facilities, seeking information about abortions for a “pregnant” teen. They stated the “boyfriend” was 27, but neither office reported the apparent violation of Arizona’s statute requiring that law enforcement be notified immediately if an adult-child sexual relationship is known.