Scott Tibbs
Printed in the Herald-Times, 02-08-2003

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Thank you, Jeffrey Willsey

To the Editor:

With Jeffrey Willsey’s departure from the City Council, I would like to thank him for his courageous stand opposing taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood. Despite criticism from his own party, he respected the views of constituents opposed to any funding for an abortion provider.

Willsey, who is pro-choice, offered to donate $1,500 to Planned Parenthood last June if they would withdraw their funding request. Planned Parenthood's rejection of Willsey's offer showed that this organization was not desiring financial assistance to purchase their autoclave, but instead was seeking a political endorsement from city government.

Jason Banach was on target when he criticized PP for making the Social Services Funding vote a political circus rather than a bid to aid social service agencies. I applaud Banach for casting the lone dissenting vote against Planned Parenthood's funding request while Willsey was ill.

When he resigned, Willsey said a primary challenge was possible due to his stand against the PP funding request. It is ironic that a party supposedly representing a "big tent" made Willsey feel unwelcome over this vote, especially since he is a "Green Democrat”. The hostile attitude displayed by even some of Willsey's fellow City Council Democrats on the PP funding vote reminds one of how County Council veteran David Hamilton was excommunicated from the Democratic Party in last May's primary election. The treatment of Willsey and Hamilton is doubly ironic given prominent Democrats' chiding of the Republican Party in 1998 over the primary challenge to former State Rep Jerry Bales.