Akron, Ohio Schools Under Fire for Sponsoring Planned Parenthood Event
by Paul Nowak
February 20, 2004
Akron, OH (LifeNews.com) — A public service radio station that is part of the Akron, Ohio public school system was co-sponsoring an event with Planned Parenthood until an investigation by LifeNews.com and Right to Life of Summit County caused them to back out.
The Akron Beacon Journal reported on Thursday that the "Undercover Competition 2004," a design contest for condom packaging, was being co-sponsored by Planned Parenthood and WAPS-FM 91.3, a public service station sponsored by Akron Public Schools.
Proceeds of the event benefit Planned Parenthood’s programs and services, including abortions. Also, a Planned Parenthood web site promotional for the event listed Ryan Humbert, the station’s Director of Development and show host as a judge in the event.
However, following inquiries by LifeNews.com, prompting additional pressure from local pro-life advocates, the station and Akron school system are backing down.
"As a result of attention from LifeNews.com and Right to Life of Summit County, the station has directed Planned Parenthood to remove references to 91.3 from their web site," said Don Oppihle, president of Right to Life of Summit County after consulting with Tommy Bruno, the station’s general manager. "The spot currently aired by the station that promotes the contest/fundraiser, however, will continue."
Oppihle added that the spot does not refer to the station’s endorsement of the event. The website that listed Humbert as a judge now lists only his name, and not his affiliation with the station.
"We are not partners [with Planned Parenthood]," Karen Ingraham of the Akron Public Schools communications department told LifeNews.com Friday. "We are a public radio station, and do not take a position on controversial issues. We run spots for any organization with an event per FCC rules."
Ingraham added that Humbert is not participating in the event as an employee of the station, but as an independent artist on his own time. She also stated that the station is funded by grants and underwriters.
Oppihle told LifeNews.com that while the local Planned Parenthood affiliate does not provide abortions they do refer women to nearby abortion businesses who perform more than 4,000 per year in the Akron area.
He said that Planned Parenthood has ready access to the school system, previously having handed out condoms attached to sticks to resemble lollipops, but his pro-life organization is prohibited from even speaking at the school because it is considered a "controversial" organization by the school board.
ACTION: Contact WAPS at 330-761-3099, fax a letter to 330-761-3240, or email general manager Tommy Bruno at [email protected]. Contact Akron Public Schools at 70 N. Broadway, Akron, OH 44308-1999, 330-761-1661, fax 330/761-3225, [email protected]