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Abortion no issue with Kandiyohi Co.'s Planned Parenthood contract

WILLMAR -- A routine subcontract agreement between Kandiyohi County and Planned Parenthood drew concerns from a resident about abortion that were expressed Tuesday during the Kandiyohi County Commissioners' community health board meeting.

The $8,000 contract is for family planning and prenatal services for high-risk participants, including low-income women, teenagers of childbearing age and those at risk of unintended pregnancy. The services typically include care for sexually transmitted diseases and contraceptive methods, according to Ann Stehn, Kandiyohi County Community Health Services administrator.

Eugene Hippe, of Willmar, questioned the wording of the contract, calling it "extremely broad" and requesting that the commissioners "tighten up" the contract language.

While reading a Planned Parenthood brochure he said the abortion services provided by the non-profit agency "caught my eye."

When comparing that list of services with the county's contract, Hippe said the contract "has some broad implications" about the types of services provided.

Stehn said funding for the contract is intended for prevention and contraceptive methods and exams, and that abortion isn't part of this contract.

Commissioner Harlan Madsen said the community health board has been "very explicit" that abortion services -- even counseling on abortion -- are prohibited under county contracts.

He said Hippe's concerns were valid, but abortion is not part of the contracted services.

Stehn said the county has contracted with Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakotas since the mid-90s to provide family planning services the county is required to provide. She said federal dollars that are funneled through the county are used to fund the services.

The commissioners unanimously approved the contract as it was presented.

In other action the board:

- Approved a resolution to appoint viewers to conduct a redetermination of benefits for County Ditches 23A and 26.

- Agreed to hire an appraiser and seek sealed bids for the sale of a 40-acre parcel of county-owned land south of Calhoun Lake in Irving Township. The county currently cash rents the land for agricultural use. The land is located at 15790 138 Ave. NE, Spicer.

- Approved a conditional use permit for David Ziemke to operate a pawn shop at 4784 Highway 71 Northeast in the Sunray Addition in Dovre Township. He has similar operations in Princeton and Zimmerman.


Carolyn Lange

A reporter for 35 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

(320) 894-9750