Dr. Dawg

Planned Parenthood de-funded by United Way Ottawa

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It’s taken 35 years, but the anti-choice movement in Ottawa can now declare a victory. United Way Ottawa has slashed funding to Planned Parenthood, and PP’s sex education program has now been stopped in its tracks—just as sexually-transmitted diseases among youth in the Ottawa area are spiking.

In January, Dr. Isra Levy, the city’s medical officer of health, warned that the incidence of sexually transmitted infections in the area was at a 10-year high, including a 4,900-per-cent increase in infectious syphilis and a 89-per-cent increase in chlamydia. He pointed to a trend of young people abandoning safe-sex practices as one of the main causes of the increase.

I know and like Lawrence Greenspon, chair of the United Way’s Community Services Cabinet, so I sympathize as he finds himself in the unhappy role of having to rationalize United Way’s decision:

[Greenspon] says “there was no political agenda” behind the agency’s decision to cut funding to the sex education program.

Planned Parenthood “has been doing some excellent work,” but its program “doesn’t align with what we’ve established as priority goals in area of children and youth,” he says. Greenspon notes that donors can still direct money to Planned Parenthood by earmarking their United Way contributions specifically for the agency.

If you want to swallow that bit of anodyne public relations, I have a bridge in New York to sell you, cheap. It’s boilerplate stuff. Time to juxtapose:

Greenspon: “doesn’t align with what we’ve established as priority goals.”

CIDA’s KAIROS decision: “[D]idn’t fall within CIDA’s priorities.”

Greenspon: “We got 232 applications . and unfortunately, they were asking for a lot more money than we have to give.”

Tony Clement’s denial of a grant to Montreal’s Pride organization, Divers/Cité, in 2009:

Clement claims the $100-million program received an abundance of eligible requests, including many strong candidates from Quebec, and the government had to make tough choices about how to dish out the cash.

What I—and no doubt others—would really like to know at this point is: where the heck were Cabinet members Alex Munter (once a progressive mayoral candidate) and Sean McKenny (President of the Ottawa District Labour Council) when this shameful decision was made? Seems to me both of them have some ‘splaining to do.

[H/t Ariel Troster]

UPDATE: (April 18) Alex Munter responds:

Comments on your blog regarding United Way’s decision to defund Planned Parenthood were brought to my attention. For your information, I am no longer a member of the United Way Community Services Cabinet - haven’t been there since December, ever since I changed jobs (I used to be the rep on the Cabinet for Youth Services Bureau, a United Way-funded agency). I have asked them to update their website. I am not aware of the reasons for their decision but will be following up.

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This page contains a single entry by Dr. Dawg published on April 12, 2011 12:48 PM.

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