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Brevard County's 211 Hotline promotes abortion

Here’s a radio show program about this important issue. Lawrence Salberg is at about the first five minutes talking about Brevard County’s 211 hotline promoting baby killing with taxpayer money.

So download it, listen to it, stream it from your site if you can.

Below is Lawrence Salberg’s email communication (in reverse thread order) with Brevard County trying to get them to remove the abortion referral from their 211 line.

See also Lawrence Salberg’s Blog and hear an edited version of the interview. You will need to scoll to the bottom of the post.

If this upsets you, as well it should, and you want to take action, you can contact Ms. “Libby” at the following address, phone and email.



Libby Donoghue
Executive Director 2-1-1 Brevard Inc.
321.631.9290 ext. 202 tel
321.631.9291 fax
ldonoghue@211brevard.org
http://www.211brevard.org/


Hi All,

Ms. Donoghue of 211 Brevard apparently thinks she is funny. She removed WomanCare and added … Planned Parenthood! Using my logic, she apparently thought that as long as she used a “non-profit” to help her little agenda, she’d be okay? …

Full thread below for some who may not yet know about it.

- Lawrence Salberg

———— Original Message ————

Mr. Salberg:

Our policy permits the inclusion of for-profit entities that provide “unique or specifically targeted services, or services that are otherwise scarce or difficult to access.” That said, we have learned that Planned Parenthood offers services in counties contiguous to Brevard. We have added their services to the database in lieu of WomanCare since it is also our policy to refer to not-for-profit services when available. Thank you for bringing this issue to our attention.

Libby Donoghue
Executive Director
2-1-1 Brevard Inc.
321.631.9290 ext. 202 tel
321.631.9291 fax
ldonoghue@211brevard.org
http://www.211brevard.org/




From: Lawrence Salberg
Sent: Tuesday, November 20, 2007 5:09 PM
To: Elizabeth B Donoghue
Cc: Lawrence Salberg
Subject: Re: Abortion Referral on 211 Brevard

Ms. Donoghue:

In speaking to numerous individuals this past week, there has been some concern over your statement here about the “agency’s policy” as to what constitutes an appropriate organization to be included on 2-1-1 Brevard’s referral list.

I’ve referred them to the policy that was very recently posted to the 211 Brevard website (previously and seemingly unavailable on the website).

Personally, I have no interest in playing games in determining whether or not a for-profit abortion clinic meets your and your board’s self-created guidelines. Quite obviously, would there to be certain individuals in your organization (up to and including yourself perhaps) that simply had a political determination to allow abortion clinics as a valid referral source, a simple modification of your own internal guidelines, which can be amended without any outside approval, would be sufficient to warrant a previously “gray” area.

I fully intend to notify 211 Brevard’s sources of funding, with the help of a few folks. You can expect some calls and letters asking for an explanation from your own funding sources. You can also expect other abortion clinics to inquire why this one particular clinic gets special treatment, merely for the maintainence of a Brevard area-code phone number.

However, prior to engaging others to pursue your organization’s questionable use of federal and state monies to help refer abortions (and all without proper counseling or training in dealing with crisis pregnancies), I feel it is appropriate to open as many doors to communication as I can. Whether or not you and your board reciprocate is certainly your decision.

In that regard, and not meaning to be a “pest”, I’m trying to determine under what part of your own policy permits the use of for-profit abortion facilities. Everyone who has read it seems to feel that it is specifically disallowed by your own policy. Indeed, it does seem confusing that your sole criterion for inclusion (your agency policy) seems to specifically EXCLUDE an abortion clinic’s inclusion.

Under Section M of Exclusions, it outlines pretty much what I relayed to you in my first letter, specifically that if you include one, you’ll have to include them all. If you include this abortion clinic (nothing more than a private medical practice (as defined by Florida state law), then you’ll not only have to include all of them that “service Brevard County”. There are about a dozen that would meet that standard. And of course, about 1,000 other private medical services that qualify equally under the law.

As a separate matter, there is a long and protracted history of abortion clincs (and in particular, this one) with skirting and abusing state and federal laws. Unlike a more reputable medical practice, abortion clinics routinely disregard federal and state reporting laws. Thus, under section A and F, such a ‘business’ would be excluded. I don’t expect that you would know that, but it is a significant angle that others will be bringing forth.

There’s quite a few other sections (G and E) that step in the gray area.

I would implore you to carefully consider how you’ll be able to justify publicly your inclusion of WomanCare.

I don’t know your background, nor do I want to sound insulting here, but I’ve had some experience in dealing with third parties who kind of “step into the poop” of getting too cozy with abortion clinics. Often, it stems from an innocent mistake or a bit of “politics over pragmatism”. Very understandable – we all have our political positions and I can respect that.

But what these organizations fail to realize is how messy things get once the public gets involved. Over the many years that I’ve been involved with pro-life organizations and activities, I’ve come to the conclusion that it is so often better to spend time to try and reason upfront – not forever or without limit, but too often pro-life groups go into a full-scale assault before cooler heads can sit down and help others to see the danger (or error) of their ways. Although I think I’ve been more than clear, I’m not under the impression that you fully understand the ramifications of standing strong on this (not that you are doing that).

I want to be clear: There will indeed be a concerted effort to get 211 Brevard to drop WomanCare from its referral sources. I’m certainly no leader of it, but I do intend to facilitate information to others as much as possible. The stuff I’ve mentioned here is just the tip of the iceberg. We all have our lives and families to attend to and would much rather do that then spend time focusing on the otherwise good efforts of 211 Brevard.

If you would be so kind as to review your policy, I’d much rather have you the opportunity to retract privately than publicly. I think you understand that there is no way this is going to stand up to intense public scrutiny. Do the right thing now and use your own policy to exclude them. Everyone goes away happy. WomanCare knows full well they’ve been on thin ice and a prayer for a few years. They might balk, but keep in mind that they have absolutely no interest in seeing 211 Brevard staying in business. They are just using you as free advertising and extra business. If they lose that avenue, they might cry a bit, but, quite frankly, too bad, so sad. Tell them to pay for advertising like all other private for-profit businesses. It would be much better to lose an out-of-town business than lose something far greater.

Please consider your policy more deeply as well as all the possible ramifications of staying your present course. The only reason I’m writing this is at the counsel of others who feel that you and your board may not realize that you have an “easy out” of this with your own policy. Such an “easy out” becomes much more difficult when your backs are against the wall of public scrutiny and audits. From that regard, I guess it may be worth one final email to point out the above to you. At this point, only you, the board, and about a half-dozen others know. Perhaps it can stay that way, but I suppose that is up to you.

Sincerely,

Lawrence Salberg
Melbourne, FL



Elizabeth B Donoghue wrote:

Mr. Salberg :

The 2-1-1 Board has considered your concerns. It is satisfied with the agency’s policy for determining what programs will be included in the database & will not be making any changes.


Libby Donoghue
Executive Director
2-1-1 Brevard Inc.
321.631.9290 ext. 202 tel
321.631.9291 fax
ldonoghue@211brevard.org
http://www.211brevard.org/


***********

From: Lawrence Salberg
Sent: Wednesday, November 14, 2007 12:53 PM
To: Elizabeth B Donoghue
Subject: Re: Abortion Referral on 211 Brevard

Ms. Donoghue :

Thank you for your reply.

Can you give me an estimate on the turnaround time that I should reasonable expect?

I’m not yet familiar with how often your board meets. I’m assuming you have (or will) be emailing them this information prior to the next meeting, so maybe it can be sufficiently handled without a formal meeting.

Anyway, as a matter of some urgency (as I see it anyway), I’m hoping this can be taken care of in the next few days.

Sincerely,

Lawrence Salberg
Melbourne , FL

*****************

Elizabeth B Donoghue wrote:
Dear Mr. Salberg :

Thank you for sharing your concerns. I will review them with our board of directors.

Libby Donoghue
Executive Director
2-1-1 Brevard Inc.
321.631.9290 ext. 202 tel
321.631.9291 fax
ldonoghue@211brevard.org

http://www.211brevard.org/



**************

From: Lawrence Salberg
Sent: Monday, November 05, 2007 12:19 PM
To: Elizabeth B Donoghue
Subject: Re: Abortion Referral on 211 Brevard

Ms. Donoghue :

Thank you for your timely response. However, I have several problems with this and your initial response here. I apologize for the length, but I feel it important to be very clear. I realize you are also accountable to others and I want you to be able to share my comments freely without burdening you with the need for further explanation to those persons. I hope I can accomplish that by explaining thoroughly my concerns here.

1) You indicate here that 211 Brevard is really nothing more than a yellow pages book. Of course, the county, state, and federal money spent on the 211 program is clearly not intended to replicate the functionality of the more than abundent sources of information already available such as phone books or Google.

If that were so, I’d surely like my business to be listed in 211 Brevard – at taxpayer expense – and listed on the internet website. I’m sure most business owners would like the same.

But the intent of the program is to act as a sort of crisis help line for those who are in need: families without food or a place to stay, those feeling suicidal, abused women, etc.

Having referals that go to a full-fledged for-profit abortion clinic is nothing more than a straightforward business referral.

In fact, considering that there are no open abortion clinics in Brevard, it is a bit suspect why 211 Brevard would just have “one” listed. I’m curious what the reaction of the other nearby clinics in Fort Pierce and Daytona Beach would think, not to mention the many other abortion clinics in Orlando, if they knew that government money in Brevard was being used to funnel business to one isolated clinic. I’m certainly not suggesting that (being pro-life), but having some first-hand experience in dealing with these abortion clinics, I can assure you that there is no more competitive industry in America . Once they learn of this, you’ll be inundated and my “pro-life” concern will seem like a mere ripple in the raging storm.

I trust you see my point here: Once the government begans referring business to “for profit” entities, a huge whole is ripped into the fabric of the fine line between “government services” and outright competition.

2) Abortion, while “legal”, is an elective surgery. When you take away the rhetoric from both sides about the “killing of a human life” or a “woman’s choice”, it is not too different from plastic surgery.

Again, we have an example of government money being used to funnel business to one particular business.

Surely, we can agree that the 211 Brevard operators are not licensed counselors and should show no partiality to a person’s situation. Thus, I find it highly questionable that they would take on the liability of referring a woman to a for-profit business whose only function is to administer abortion procedures. These women, who are in a “crisis pregnancy” should be instead referred to a licensed counseling center or a center which focuses, without regard to profit, on women in such situations. They should not be given the name of an abortion clinic and told that they have been “helped” by the government.

3) You mention the referrals to “abortion alternatives”. I don’t know your street level knowledge of the situation, so excuse me if this is old hat to you. The sad reality is that “crisis pregnancy centers” are often forced to sometimes market themselves as “abortion alternatives” by either fiat from those that run these types of directories, or by the simple lack of knowledge in the public sphere. In other words, some directories (such as certain tele phone books) require it, refusing to place them more appropriately under “Crisis Pregnancy Counseling Centers”. More often, market conditions force crisis pregnancy centers to do it because some people wouldn’t know to look under the words “crisis” or “pregnancy” in a phone book or directory.

You might imagine a concerned parent trying to get quality information for their pregnant teenage daughter. Knowing that an abortion clinic is, by its very nature, going to be biased toward true alternatives (not to mention complicit in turning a blind-eye when it comes to required reporting of certain laws (such as statutory rape), the parent opens a phone book to look for help. Naturally, they check the “abortion” section first in their stress, so many CPC’s are, by way of trying to help, forced to advertise in the field of “abortion alternatives”.

Thus, while you seem to applaud 211 Brevard’s 4:1 ratio of referrals to “abortion alternatives” over and above “abortion clinics”, I don’t find that amusing. As I previously stated, the situation is rather dire when you have 211 Brevard employees, using taxpayer funding, to directly refer patients, without proper understanding (and/or concern) for that person’s overall well-being, to a full-fledged abortion clinic for the termination of their pregnancy.

The point I’m trying to make is that no one should be referring women in crisis pregnancies to abortion clinics without them having heard of ALL the options and without their personal situation being discussed with trained counselors. It isn’t a matter of whether they should get the “abortion alternative” or the “abortion”. It’s a matter that they should be referred to a caring non-profit center where they can receive truthful and complete information BEFORE they make a decision to have an abortion. Should they then seek to still do so, there are plenty of ways for them to find the information necessary to do so – they surely should not be assisted by government-funded programs that were setup as a “lifeline” for those in dire need without resources.

4) Your numbers are a bit off.

First, I’m not sure if you are trying to persuade me that the impact of such referrals is “minimal” by referring to the 45 tele phone referrals to WomanCare last year, but if you ask me, that is 45 too many. That is 45 absolutely free, government-supported (and thus, taxpayer funded) referrals that a “for-profit” business was able to get out of 211 Brevard last year.

Aside from the obvious moral dillemmas placed on any pro-life staff (i.e. that they could be guilty of helping 45 babies to die), there is also the more obvious contrast of, again, a business that made approximately $500 per referral (a total of $22,000+) in one year – paid for by the money of Brevard taxpayers.

I shouldn’t have to point out the long and extremely controversial history of government money being used to fund or refer patients for abortions. Federal money, in particular, has, for many years, oscillated back and forth whenever it was shown that taxpayer money was used for this purpose. Even when money has been sent to supposedly “multi-service family planning clincs” (such as the kind run by Planned Parenthood), it has caused great stirs and controversy. Simply put, no matter your personal beliefs, the simple fact is that over one-half of the population is “pro-life” (or “anti-abortion”) and does not want their personal money going to fund such things.

Second, I too have your report. What you failed to mention here was that out of 1,584 “programs” in the 211 Brevard database, that WomanCare was viewed online at the website 133 times, making it the 15th most popular online visit on your website. In other words, it was in the top ONE percentile of all programs viewed online. While I don’t believe all that web traffic resulted in direct referrals (as did the tele phone calls), there’s no doubt that it is a popular destination for visitors to your website. 1,568 other programs were viewed LESS than WomanCare. That is stunning.

Additionally, going back to your tele phone referrals which you seem to minimize, the reality is that even with “only” 45 referrals to WomanCare, they were STILL the 169th most popular referral out of that same 1,584 “programs”. placing it in the 11th percentile of tele phone referrals – right next to the Melbourne Public Library and the above the Better Business Bureau of Central Florida. In other words, WomanCare’s referral rate by 211 Brevard is clearly significant when compared to the other organizations, most of whom are legitimate not-for-profit entities and government services.

Looked at another way, out of the 45,500 logged tele phone referrals to 211 Brevard last year, one out of every 100 tele phone referrals was sent to WomanCare.

In summary, considering the funding of 211 Brevard, I would like to politely remind you that even though your personal preference may be to continue referrals to WomanCare (and I’m not suggesting that it is to do so), I think as Executive Director, it is incumbent that you bring this matter to the attention of the board of 211 Brevard.

As you know, many different funding sources, including the cities of Melbourne , Satellite Beach , Cocoa , and so forth, all assist to help fund 211 Brevard. State and federal money is also used greatly and I think it is imperative that you consider the representative nature of all that money.

By this I mean that the money represents the “will of the people” insofar as we understand the program to be purposed. We all support 211 Brevard and are happy to pay for its existence so that we can feel good that we are able to get the right people to the right services, particularly in a time of personal crisis, or after a disaster like a hurricane.

However, no one notified us that for-profit abortion clinics would be one of the many services listed and referred to with our tax dollars. I personally don’t think it needs to become a “showdown” or anything crazy like that. I just think that, with a bit of a review by those with some experience and wisdom, good people will come to the simple conclusion that abortion clinic referrals are not inline with the program’s goals, that it would be a slap-in-the-face to the many prolife people in Brevard who don’t want their money to be mingled with the death of a baby (as they see it), and that the information is freely and easily available elsewhere to those who elect such a procedure.

I trust you will take this matter seriously and get back to me at your earliest convenience on the steps that are being taken to examine this matter. I appreciate your time and if there is anything I can do to expedite this issue, please let me know.

Sincerely,

Lawrence Salberg
Melbourne , FL

***************

Elizabeth B Donoghue wrote:


Dear Mr. Salberg,

Like the local tele phone book, internet, 4-1-1 or a community library, 2-1-1 is a non-partisan, non-idealistic and non-judgmental information source for many governmental, faith-based and community based health and human services. Our mission is to connect people to governmental, health or human services that are available to people in Brevard County . For the most part, these are services located in the county. In some instances, services are not located here but are available and of interest to local residents – these may be located in adjacent counties or may be internet-based services (e.g., online support groups).

Our 2-1-1 specialists generally provide abortion referrals as the result of a direct request (e.g., ‘may I have the number to…”), never as a recommendation. You may also have noted that our database contains information on abortion alternatives. Of more than 45,000 referrals made to nearly 1,200 programs last year, 45 were made to WomanCare and over 200 to programs listed as abortion alternatives.

Sincerely,

Libby Donoghue
Executive Director
2-1-1 Brevard Inc.
321.631.9290 ext. 202 tel
321.631.9291 fax
ldonoghue@211brevard.org
http://www.211brevard.org/

***************

From: Lawrence Salberg
Sent: Saturday, November 03, 2007 4:40 PM
To: Elizabeth B Donoghue
Subject: Abortion Referral on 211 Brevard

Ms. Donoghue :

I’m writing to inquire regarding the use of the 211 service to refer people to abortion clincs. Currently, the service lists an abortion clinic on their list of services that they refer to.

Can you please help me understand how this is possible? I don’t understand how the county could be funding referrals to abortion clinics in the Orlando area.

Thank you.

Lawrence Salberg
Melbourne , FL

Comments

Your comments are welcome!

You do not have the right to tell other people how to conduct their lives. If you actually took time to read your Bible you'd find that God specifically tells you not to judge others--it is God's job, and God's right as the Creator. Tend to your own sins and leave the rest to the One God. Direct some of the concern to the unwanted, unloved, uncared for children who are suffering around the world. . .

Posted by  Anonymous on 12/21/2014 11:33 AM #

If it is God's job to tell me what to do, then why are you telling me that? Leave it to Him. Right?

Posted by Jay Rogers on 12/21/2014 11:33 AM #

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