10/17/13. Colorado sued for funding Planned Parenthood. Bob Unruh, wnd.com
“Democratic leaders in Colorado, sympathetic to Planned Parenthood officials and their financial desires, have unconstitutionally handed over some $14 million from state taxpayers to the abortion industry giant, according to a new lawsuit that has been filed.
The case is being brought by officials with the Alliance Defending Freedom on behalf of a former state official against Planned Parenthood, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Colorado Health Care Policy chief Susan Birth and Larry Wolk, executive director of the state Department of Public Health.
It alleges that in open defiance of a state constitutional prohibition on taxpayer funding of abortions – either “directly or indirectly” – Hickenlooper, a Democrat, and his predecessor, Bill Ritter, also a Democrat, handed over millions to Planned Parenthood.
“Public officials should respect the law and the democratic process rather than ignore both to fill Planned Parenthood’s bank account,” said Senior Counsel Michael J. Norton. “Colorado voters already decided the issue when they amended the state constitution to prohibit tax-dollar subsidies to abortionists. State records clearly show that state officials have provided both federal and state taxpayer funds to Planned Parenthood in clear violation of the state constitution.”
At issue is $14 million that “violates a voter-approved state constitutional amendment that prohibits the direct or indirect public subsidizing of abortion.”
It was back in 1984 when Colorado voters approved the Abortion Funding Prohibition Amendment. In the 1988 election they rejected an initiative to repeal it, and it has been part of the state Constitution since.
The ADF, pursuing the case on behalf of former Colorado Health Department chief Jane E. Norton, reports the Colorado Department of Public Health audited Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood and its affiliate, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains Services Corporation, in 2001 and subsequently ended funding to them after finding that state funds were indirectly subsidizing abortions.
Democrats improperly handed over $1.9 million to Planned Parenthood in 2009, $2.3 million in 2010, $3.3 million 2011, $2.7 million in 2012 and $3.4 million in 2013, the case alleges.
The second organization had been created in an attempt to maneuver around the requirement that no taxes go even “indirectly” to abortions.
That, of course, brought up the issue of whether a subsidiary of the abortion-promoting Planned Parenthood was paying a fair market value for office space and the like. The audit found those types of situations were a problem.
But the lawsuit explains that state officials later simply ignored that determination and resumed funding for abortions – claiming that the funds only consisted of federal taxpayer dollars.
WND contacted Hickenlooper’s office for a comment, and was given two email addresses to submit a request. One address was inoperable, and from the second an automatic message was generated that no one was at that address until next week.
But the complaint filed in Norton v. Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood with the state district court in Denver explains that new public records requests and research demonstrate conclusively that the government has used and is using state taxpayer dollars.
The lawsuit also contends that federal taxpayer dollars that the state administers are also off limits to abortionists.
As the lawsuit explains, “since about January 15, 2009, to the present date, the Colorado government defendants and other Colorado government agencies have provided approximately $14 million in public funds to defendant Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood and thereby have, in violation of Colorado’s Abortion Funding Prohibition Amendment, directly or indirectly subsidized Planned Parenthood Services’ abortion operations.”
Ritter had campaigned during 2006 promising to violate the state constitution by restoring money for Planned Parenthood.
“We will restore the Planned Parenthood money that Gov. [Bill] Owens [a Republican] cut. Every woman in Colorado will have access to emergency contraception. And we will not turn women or their doctors into criminals,” Ritter had boasted.
Owens had simply eliminated funding for Planned Parenthood from the state budget because of the vote on the constitution provision.
A state legal opinion at the time found that dividing Planned Parenthood into two corporations. one to provide abortions and another to pay other expenses, didn’t suffice.
Article 5, Section 50 of the Constitution states, “No public funds shall be used by the State of Colorado, its agencies or political subdivisions to pay or otherwise reimburse, either directly or indirectly, any person, agency or facility for the performance of any inducted abortion.”
A lawsuit brought at the time was dismissed by Denver District Judge Larry Naves.
But the new case alleges: “Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood has knowingly accepted and retained the benefits of violations by the Colorado government defendants of Colorado’s Abortion Funding Prohibition Amendment.”
It alleges the two divisions of Planned Parenthoood are “conjoined, interrelated, and integrated affiliates or entities of each other…”
“Since Jan. 15, 2009, to the present date, the Colorado government defendants have, in direct violation of Colorado’s Abortion Funding Prohibition Amendment and in breach of their duties to take care that the laws of the state of Colorado have been and are being faithfully executed, improperly and unlawfully disbursed approximately $14 million in public funds, i.e., Colorado taxpayer dollars, to defendant Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood,” the case states.
The case asks for a judgment that the payments are unconstitutional, that any contracts that exist are void, and, as “it would be inequitable for defendant Rocky Mountain Planned Praenthood to retain such benefit,’ for it to hand the money back over to the state.”