By Bob Allen
The Kentucky Baptist Convention announced plans Oct. 28 to vote on a resolution calling for the defunding of Planned Parenthood at the convention’s annual meeting Nov. 10 in Elizabethtown, Ky.
“The horror of Planned Parenthood’s murder and selling of babies can no longer be tolerated in our society,” Paul Chitwood, executive director of the statewide affiliate of the Southern Baptist Convention, said on the news website Kentucky Today.
Chitwood said he expects the vote, a response to videos released by the anti-abortion group Center for Medical Progress accusing the nonprofit organization that provides reproductive and maternal health services at 700 clinics across the country of profiting from the sale of tissue from aborted fetuses, to pass unanimously.
Chitwood said “Kentucky Baptists cannot remain silent” about the fact that one third of Planned Parenthood’s $1.3 billion budget comes from the federal government.
“In the name of women’s health, Planned Parenthood preys on expectant mothers, many of whom are in desperate situations and looking for help,” Chitwood said. “Instead of help, Planned Parenthood brings unspeakable harm to these ladies and their children.”
With 750,000 members and nearly 2,400 churches, the Kentucky Baptist Convention is the state’s largest religious organization.
The host for this year’s convention is Severns Valley Baptist Church. More than 1,100 attended the convention when it was last held in Elizabethtown in 2009. Sherry Murphy, executive director of the Elizabethtown Tourism and Convention Bureau, estimated each overnight visitor generates about $115 for the local economy.
Since controversy over the secretly recorded and apparently edited videos, Planned Parenthood has announced it will no longer accept payments from research companies to cover administrative costs associated with donated fetal tissue. Planned Parenthood leaders say the payments are legal but were discontinued because anti-abortion activists were using the business model to tarnish the organization’s image.