[Vision2020] Whitman County commissioners offer no help for Planned Parenthood
thansen at moscow.com
Tue Sep 22 11:14:54 PDT 2015
If men could get pregnant, there would be . . .
A Planned Parenthood office on every street corner,
A morning-after pill dispenser in every bar and airport, and
Abortions available during lunch breaks.
Courtesy of today's (September 22, 2015) Moscow-Pullman Daily News.
Whitman County commissioners offer no help for Planned Parenthood
Health organization asks county for office space; county declines
Officials from Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho asked the Whitman County Health Department to lease the organization a temporary space at the department's office in Pullman, but the health care provider will likely have to look elsewhere.
The issue was discussed by the Whitman County Commissioners on Monday afternoon during its Board of Health meeting.
Planned Parenthood's Pullman facility was damaged during a Sept. 4 arson fire. Whitman County Public Health Director Troy Henderson said he reached out to Planned Parenthood after the incident and asked the organization if there was any way the county health department could help.
"They voiced they would like to find space pretty quick. They don't want to lose their customer base," Henderson said, adding "the kids are here in session at (Washington State University)."
The commissioners said Monday the Board of Health meeting wasn't the right forum to discuss the renting of public facilities. Moreover, because the request was never formally submitted to the commissioners, as of now the issue won't be listed on any upcoming commissioners' agendas.
"It is a larger issue than the specific Planned Parenthood case and would only be appropriately included on the board's regular agenda at the request of one of our commissioners," Commissioner Michael Largent wrote in an email Friday.
Largent also wrote he was "unabashedly and unapologetically pro-life."
After the meeting, Largent said leasing the space poses two different issues: a health care problem and a facilities problem.
"It is my understanding at this point that the services provided by Planned Parenthood in Pullman are still readily available in our area for free or at low cost," Largent wrote in the email. "My suggestion to the Board of Health would be to identify and disseminate those alternatives."
Largent added, "If in fact there is a public health crisis, as opposed to a temporary inconvenience or change of delivery service providers, I'm all ears."
The second issue, the facilities problem, was addressed by both Largent and Commissioner Dean Kinzer on Monday. Kinzer and Largent said it's not usual for the county to lease out space to private entities.
Henderson noted that, to his knowledge, the Whitman County Department of Public Health hasn't leased out any spaces to private entities.
"We need to tread carefully simply because the county doesn't want to compete with the private sector in leasing out available space," Kinzer said. "They need to exhaust other entities."
Largent looked for precedent to explain the situation. He said if a pharmacy or doctor's office was to burn down it would force clients to attend other pharmacies and physicians.
"We're done with it unless we find out there is absolutely no other space and it's the only option left in the world," Kinzer said.
According to Northwest Public Radio, it will take about four months and $250,000 to repair the clinic.
Planned Parenthood is currently operating out of a pop-up tent outside its damaged clinic and is offering free condoms, scheduling appointments and contraceptive refills. The group is also arranging for mail delivery of prescriptions.
Seeya 'round town, Moscow, because . . .
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