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ABQ City Council approves funding for Planned Parenthood

The Albuquerque City Council reached a compromise of sorts in Monday night’s meeting, with the passage of an amended bill, R-22-46. The bill was originally amended into the city’s budget by Councilor Tammy Fiebelkorn back in May.

This was a council-directed sponsorship of $250,000 to fund Planned Parenthood here in the city. This was challenged by Councilor Renée Grout, who proposed in June to instead allocate the funds from Planned Parenthood to fund a youth shelter and the Barrett House Shelter.

Monday night’s meeting is filled with a tense public comment section, with individuals voicing both their support and disapproval of the Planned Parenthood funding.

Councilor Dan Lewis asked if the funds made available to Planned Parenthood by the city would be used for abortions.

The city’s Department Director of Family and Community Services Carol Pierce explained the the city’s contract with Planned Parenthood will allow services such as wellness visits, breast exams, cancer screenings, HPV and prevention, sexually transmitted infection testing and diagnoses, among other servies as well.

But abortion services are never mentioned in the suite of services the city is funding.

Council Fiebelkorn gave an impassioned speech about the importance of these services to the Albuquerque community.

“Let me just start by saying that I am very sad that it was only $250,000, I would love to give Planned Parenthood way, way more money. They do amazing services for our community. I have been there since I was in college. They are the only reason I had STD testing, contraception, breast cancer screenings. It is insane to say that $250,000 for this great organization won’t be spent in a really good manner.”

Fiebelkorn continued by saying it made no sense why the council was trying to pit funding for Planned Parenthood against funding for homeless shelters, saying the city could fund both.

To accomplish that goal, Fiebelkorn introduced an amendment to the bill that would allow the $250,000 in funding to remain in plan, and also dedicate $100,000 to both the Barrett Shelter and a community energy efficiency project in partnership with prosperity works.

This amendment passed the council on a vote of 5-4, allowing for both causes to receive funding.