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August 19, 2008

To the Vanderburgh County Commissioners: 

We, Board members of the League of Women Voters of Southwestern Indiana, voice our concern over the manner in which the Vanderburgh County Commissioners enacted the Abortion Provider Safety Ordinance at their Aug. 5 meeting.

There appears to have been an obvious attempt by the Commissioners to put this law into effect without the public knowing that it was even being considered.  It was listed on the agenda as simply the Patient Safety Ordinance, and it was adopted by the Commissioners, on first and final reading, without discussion.

If the story by Courier reporter Tom Langhorne was correct, Commissioners Jeff Korb and Troy Tornatta each said the other wanted to keep it quiet because they knew it would be controversial.  What a shocking thing for elected government officials to say!  Can we expect them now to try to keep quiet about every potentially controversial thing they deal with?

Commissioner Bill Nix’s explanation was lame, at best.  Langhorne quoted him as saying the ordinance was “not an issue about abortion being right or wrong. It’s strictly an issue about the safety of a woman who might have an abortion.  Who would be opposed to something like that?  To me it was just a no-brainer.”

Well, some people thought it was a no-brainer that the county should enact a strong smoking ban in public places, to protect our health and our environment.  Who would be opposed to something like that? But the Commissioners held public hearings and lengthy discussions on that ordinance before enacting it.

We can only wonder what their real motives were in this case.  In our opinion, the real issue here, indeed, is not abortion.  It’s about the need for open and honest government. 

Roberta Heiman
Martha Julian 
Pam Locker
Susie Oberbeck
Mary Sam Rutherford
Kathy Solecki