Gov. Doug Ducey’s administration has dropped Planned Parenthood, Arizona’s largest abortion provider, as one of hundreds of organizations eligible for donations from state employees through the state government charitable campaign, officials said Tuesday.
Ducey is the chairman of the State Employee Charitable Campaign, and Ducey spokesman Daniel Scarpinato says the Republican governor “absolutely supports” a September decision by an 18-member committee of agency directors and other state officials to exclude Planned Parenthood after decades of participation.
Ducey “has made it clear that the state of Arizona should not be involved in facilitating contributions to a controversial organization of this kind,” Scarpinato said. “People are still free to give on their own …”
Ducey, a Republican, is a staunch abortion opponent who earlier this year signed into law legislation requiring doctors in Arizona to tell women they can reverse the effects of a drug-induced abortion.
Planned Parenthood’s role as an abortion provider “is the only conclusion that we can draw” as to why Planned Parenthood lost its eligibility, said Jodi Liggett, a Planned Parenthood spokeswoman. The organization still meets the campaign’s eligibility criteria, so it’s unfair that state workers who want to contribute to Planned Parenthood no longer can do donate through the campaign, Liggett said.
“It’s not a ton of money in the scheme of our giving. We’re more upset on principle,” Liggett said.
State employees in 2014 pledged to make donations in 2015 totaling about $7,250 to Planned Parenthood’s Arizona affiliate. Money donated through the state government campaign supports the affiliate’s general operations, including family planning, cancer screening, sexual transmitted testing and treatment “and, of course abortion,” Liggett said in an email.
“So the individual donations coming through the SECC do in part pay for abortions,” Liggett said. “In fact, many of our donors specifically want to fund this service knowing that women in dire circumstances may not have the financial means to pay for a needed abortion.”
The committee’s action occurred during nationwide debate over Planned Parenthood-related undercover videos shot by abortion proponents, but a campaign official said she didn’t recall abortion being specifically mentioned by committee members.
“The group did not feel that this particular charity met the mission and standards they were looking for,” Linda Stiles, the campaign’s executive director, said of the committee.
Stiles said the committee dropped Planned Parenthood as part of a scrub that added and deleted eligibility for a number of organizations. The Clinton Foundation of former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was dropped because it has thought to be political in nature, Scapinato said.
The 485 organizations eligible in 2015 for employee pledges to be fulfilled in 2016 include organizations with a wide range of concerns. Those include organizations concerned with health care, disabilities, hunger, housing, religion and military veterans.
Luis Schmidt, president of a Phoenix-based location of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, said the Ducey administration improperly politicized the charitable campaign. “Now to have it become partisan, that doesn’t sit right,” Schmidt said.
Liggett said Planned Parenthood tried in October to appeal the decision after learning of it, but it was told it had already missed the appeal deadline. Stiles said Planned Parenthood was sent a notice in time.
The State Employee Charitable Campaign’s decision to drop Planned Parenthood was reported first by Phoenix New Times.