Albuquerque City Councilor Tammy Fiebelkorn helped thwart an effort to reroute city funds already allocated to Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains for the current year’s budget on Monday evening during a city council meeting.
Earlier this summer, Albuquerque City Councilor Renee Grout introduced R-22-46, a resolution that would reallocate funds the city council already approved in May that would be allocated to Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains.
Fiscal Year 2023 began July 1 with the city budget already signed by the mayor, which included the allocation to PPRM.
Fiebelkorn introduced an amendment to the proposed ordinance that would leave the $250,000 already allocated to PPRM intact while allocating an additional $100,000 to each of the nonprofits, Barrett House shelter and Prosperity Works for a community energy efficiency project.
The council voted in favor of Fiebelkorn’s amended resolution 6-3 after an effort to table it failed.
Fiebelkorn sponsored the original Albuquerque City Council resolution in May that allocated $250,000 to PPRM. Fiebelkorn told NM Political Report she is proud of sponsoring the original bill and said she was a patient of Planned Parenthood herself when she was a college student.
“It’s important to maintain Planned Parenthood clinics in Albuquerque so everyone in our city has access to all types of reproductive services,” she told NM Political Report prior to the City Council meeting.
Fiebelkorn’s amendment came after around an hour of public comment both for and against R-22-46. Grout did not speak about why she proposed the resolution during the city council meeting and she did not respond to NM Political Report’s requests for an interview, but she made the following statement prior to the council meeting:
“Our response as a City to the current homelessness crisis is more crucial and urgent than supporting Planned Parenthood at this time. We have a clear need for emergency services for women and children. This allocation will have a much greater impact on our community than funding services that not all taxpayers agree with and many believe is immoral,” she said.
Councilor Dan Lewis, who represents District 5, asked numerous questions about where the money was going and if it would support Planned Parenthood political advocacy activities.
Fiebelkorn said Planned Parenthood Votes New Mexico is the political action committee and it is a 501c4 nonprofit organization, fiscally separate from Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. Albuquerque City Department of Family and Community Services Department Director Carol Pierce said the contract specifies that the funds can only be used for women’s health care such as sexually transmitted disease diagnosis, contraception, cancer screenings and prevention and wellness visits. Abortion services is not listed as one of the healthcare aspects the funds PPRM can use the funds for.
Fiebelkorn said she was disappointed that the city’s contract did not allow the funding to go towards PPRM’s abortion services.
Lewis asked Fiebelkorn where the resolution to allocate funds to PPRM originated.
“Did they help you?” He asked.
Fiebelkorn said she is “pro-choice” and a “supporter of Planned Parenthood period.”
Fiebelkorn called R-22-46 a “cheap political ploy.”
“It’s incredibly frustrating,” she told NM Political Report.
Kayla Herring, director of public affairs for PPRM, said in a statement to NM Political Report that creating an either/or scenario for the two nonprofits – that the money should go either to Barrett House or to PPRM – is “disgusting.”
“It’s disgusting to watch some city councilors use unhoused relatives and survivors of violence as political pawns, shifting money to their housing while restricting access to reproductive and sexual healthcare for those exact same people. If those councilors were truly invested in the wellbeing of our community, they would have genuinely allocated money before this meeting, not just when it’s politically convenient,” she said.
Fiebelkorn said she introduced the amendment because she called the move to reallocate the funds “unconscionable.”
“To pit two nonprofits that do such good…that is insane,” she said.