Log in Subscribe

BOCC Adopts Resolution to Restrict County Funding to Some Nonprofits

Manatee County commissioners voted 6-1 for the resolution meant to keep county funds from inadvertently arriving to Planned Parenthood or any other abortion services provider.


BRADENTON — On Tuesday, Manatee County Commissioners adopted a resolution intended to restrict county funding for any nonprofit or agency that is “affiliated” with Planned Parenthood or any other abortion provider.

The approved draft resolution states, “County funds shall not be used to fund any agency requesting funding through the county’s non-profit application process who are affiliated with Planned Parenthood or any abortion provider or to otherwise fund any abortion services... This includes non-profit funding investments through children services, adult human services, and health services.”

The item was originally scheduled to be passed on the consent agenda but was pulled from consent by Commissioner George Kruse. Consent agendas are typically reserved for noncontroversial or “house-keeping” type matters and are generally passed without presentation or discussion. Upon “pulling” the item, Kruse pointed out the item’s apparent inappropriate placement as a consent matter.

Besides his objection to the item being placed for adoption on consent, Kruse also questioned the language of the resolution and whether the term “affiliated” could have potentially unintended consequences.

“Affiliated is a very broad term,” Kruse said Tuesday. “Turning Points has a path document…they have Planned Parenthood in there under the guidance of birth control, wellness checks, STD screening and health education.”

Turning Points is a local nonprofit that works with area homeless and at-risk homeless, who have qualified in the past for county funding awards. Kruse questioned whether the resolution’s language might preclude Turning Points, and other nonprofit agencies like it, from qualifying for public support.

In July, when the board was asked to approve the Children’s Services Advisory Board’s recommended investments list for local nonprofit organizations, Commissioner James Satcher took exception with the CSAB’s recommendation to approve $243,124 in county funding to Manatee’s PACE (Center for Girls). PACE had applied for funding to help support its teen pregnancy prevention program/services.

Satcher told commissioners that upon touring the local PACE center, he spotted a display that referenced educational resources provided by Planned Parenthood as sometimes being utilized as part of PACE’s pregnancy prevention program.

"Here you have an organization that only makes its money—no significant portion of its budget is covered by anything other than—abortion services," Satcher alleged during the July BOCC meeting, referring to Planned Parenthood.

A representative of PACE assured commissioners that their organization had never paid any money or fees to Planned Parenthood for educational resources.

Ultimately, PACE was approved for a funding award after much back-and-forth by commissioners and public speakers, but following the approval Commissioner Jason Bearden entered a motion to direct county staff to return to the board with a resolution that would prohibit the use of county funds being approved for any agency providing abortion services.

Commissioners supported Bearden’s motion unanimously.

However, when the draft resolution returned to the board on Tuesday, Kruse argued that the language was “not in the spirit” of what the board had originally intended or requested from staff.

Commissioners Amanda Ballard and Mike Rahn agreed in part with one point raised by Kruse concerning the vagueness of the term “affiliated,” but said that overall, they were in support of the draft resolution.

Addressing the expressed concerns of some commissioners, County Attorney Bill Clague suggested the board might consider replacing the term “affiliated” with more specific language. To do so, Clague also proposed the board allow staff some time to go back and work on revised language to return to the board for adoption.

About a half dozen citizens addressed the board prior to its vote on the proposed resolution—none were in favor. The public commenters touched on multiple reasons for their opposition to the measure, including citizens' constitutional freedom of (and from) religion and a business or nonprofit’s right to conduct business as it sees fit within the law.  Several also spoke to other services that Planned Parenthood provides including wellness checks and screenings, as well as education and contraceptives intended to avoid unwanted pregnancies.

After some debate on the options, the commission majority decided the drafted resolution’s language was ready for adoption as presented on Tuesday, though Kruse remained firmly in favor of delaying the vote to reword the resolution before adoption.

“I typically don’t like giving the government more power than it needs and giving somebody the broad overreach of being able to define terms at their own leisure while setting policy in the future is not something I want to lay on the table for a future board,” Kruse explained to his colleagues.

Satcher motioned to approve the resolution as drafted, and Bearden seconded the motion. Put to a vote, the measure was adopted 6-1 with Kruse in opposition. Manatee County Resolution NO. R-23-145 and its provisions go into effect immediately.


2 comments on this item

Only paid subscribers can comment
Please log in to comment by clicking here.

  • Charlene

    Another day, another bit of anti-abortion zealotry when Planned Parenthood DOES NOT PROVIDE abortion services in this county.

    Wednesday, September 13, 2023 Report this

  • Cat L

    This is a failing political strategy that Satcher is, of course, clinging to... Just look at the national stage, it's not working... not a great idea to espouse "my freedom!" and then seriously impose on personal freedoms. Even the governor is loosing donors, er, I mean... scrambling to find new strategies.

    Wednesday, September 13, 2023 Report this