ABQ City Council keeps Planned Parenthood in budget, adds funds for homeless shelter
Back in June, Albuquerque City Councilor Renée Grout proposed reallocating city funds for Planned Parenthood to the Barrett House Shelter for women and children experiencing homelessness. The Council voted Monday night against robbing Peter to pay Paul, and will fund both organizations.
Grout said in a statement that she proposed changing the recipient of $250,000 in the city’s budget because “not all taxpayers agree with” Planned Parenthood’s services and that the issue of homelessness is “more crucial and urgent.”
There were numerous public comments Monday both in opposition and support of the Planned Parenthood funding. Most focused on abortion services. However, the city’s contract with the nonprofit doesn’t include abortion.
Councilor Tammy Fiebelkorn, who sponsored the original funding, clarified that it covers services like cancer screening, STD testing, birth control and wellness visits.
“I think those are all things that most normal people support,” she said.
Fiebelkorn — who said she relied on Planned Parenthood in college for cancer screenings, STD testing and contraception — said she wished the funding did support abortion services and that the pot of money was even larger. “I would love to give Planned Parenthood way, way more money,” she said.
She went on to introduce an amendment that would maintain Planned Parenthood’s funding while giving an additional $100,000 each to the Barrett House Shelter and the Community Energy Efficiency project.
“I completely agree with everyone here that said it is unconscionable to pit two nonprofits that do such good against each other,” she said. “How dare we say that we can only do one thing?”
After the amendment passed, Grout attempted to postpone consideration of the bill. Fiebelkorn interjected.
“I just want to make sure it’s clear to the people in the audience that we are trying to table a bill that would provide funding for the Barrett House that was a few minutes ago so very important,” she said.
Fiebelkorn said if the bill ended up failing, she’d bring a funding proposal for the shelter back to the Council for consideration.
“Because I am not interested in a political ploy,” she said, referring to Grout’s lack of support of the amended bill that contained Barrett House funding. “I’m interested in helping the citizens of Albuquerque.”
The bill passed as amended on a 5-4 vote with Grout in opposition. All three organizations will receive city funding for the fiscal year that began last month.
Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains is a financial supporter of KUNM.