ABQ taxpayer dollars should not fund abortions - Albuquerque Journal

ABQ taxpayer dollars should not fund abortions

Renee Grout

On May 16, the City Council voted to make a statement in favor of abortion by appropriating $250,000 as an undirected lump sum to Planned Parenthood. I voted against this, along with Councilors Dan Lewis and Louie Sanchez, because one quarter of a million dollars is a loud statement to make on behalf of Albuquerque taxpayers, many of whom can’t agree with it as a matter of conscience.

This is not a simple disagreement on a political issue. For many people, abortion is sanctioned murder, and $250,000 to be spent any way it pleases by a business that makes $1.3 billion every year is wasteful and wrong.

I introduced R-22-46 on June 6 to make an equally clear statement that the people of Albuquerque do not all agree that abortion is health care. These folks are not anti-women extremists; they are mothers, fathers and grandparents. They are people who believe that life is better than death and that justice demands that we speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. Even when it’s uncomfortable. Even when we’re called extremists.

City Council is in the business of making bold statements. But what we speak on behalf of citizens should be aspirational and encouraging. We should speak of life and help and hope; of fairness and justice. That is why R-22-46 redirects some of that $250,000 to the Barrett House – a shelter that helps women and children escape exploitative and oppressive situations. It also directs a portion of the funding to a youth shelter, a cause Councilors Tammy Fiebelkorn, Brook Bassan and I have been working on together. Though we have different worldviews and approaches to many issues including homelessness, their desire to help unhoused people matches my own. It is my privilege to work with them on this project.

I don’t pretend that this resolution will end the injustice of abortion, nor will withdrawing the funding from Planned Parenthood make a small dent in their billion-dollar business. But the line item in the budget was intended to make a statement – one that is inconsistent with the consciences of many citizens. Anyone who wishes to make a statement of their own in favor of abortion is still free to write a check to Planned Parenthood; they just shouldn’t do it with taxpayer dollars.

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