A Vote Too Far
Orange County's Board of Supervisors may have crossed the line with this one.
The Orange County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously today to suspend a county contract with Planned Parenthood to provide health education for thousands of teens and preteens because the nonprofit organization offers abortions.
“I personally have a problem with government funding of an organization that provides abortion services,” said Supervisor John Moorlach, who placed the item on the agenda.
As it says in the opening graf, Planned Parenthood in Orange County does not provide abortion services. It provides health education for teenagers, including information on contraception and birth control. All this does is make kids in the area more susceptible to STDs. This is religious extremism that actually puts people at risk.
But alas, this is Orange County, some say. If they are so wedded to an extremist anti-choice ideology, then so be it. Except that's more true of the political class than the people who live there.
Despite testimony that the Planned Parenthood services under contract through the community health clincs is not funding abortions, and has been extensively audited, the Board of Supervisors voted to defund a contract that includes Planned Parenthood as one of 18 community clinics receiving funding under Propostion H [...]
Recent polling has shown that anti-choice activists in Orange County are now outnumbered over two to one by those who believe that abortion should be available without any restrictions, or with minor restrictions. (emphasis mine)
Two things jump out here. Planned Parenthood was receiving the funding via a voter-approved initiative. And then there's the part I bolded, that Orange County is strongly in favor of abortion rights. This is nothing new, by the way. The county has long been more socially liberal and economically conservative. Here's an article from June 2000 highlighting a survey showing the OC's tilt toward choice:
The county's libertarian bent also was evident on the subject of abortion. Sixty-five percent of those polled support abortion rights.
It seems to me that this vote could be a launching pad. The culture wars have played themselves out nationally, particularly in light of the economic crisis. South Dakota, one of the most conservative states in the country, couldn't pass an abortion ban in 2006 or 2008. The public supports abortion rights and even more strongly supports birth control and family planning (try 91%). This punitive measure by the OC Supes could be a rallying cry, starting a movement tailored to the libertarian thinking of the area, demanding that these lawmakers get their prying eyes out of their constituents' bedrooms. This is the kind of misstep that loses people elections. We'll see if anyone capitalizes.