Link to pro-life group on government website ruffles feathers

.- Some feathers were ruffled at Planned Parenthood in South Dakota last week when it came to light that the State Health Department website includes links to the Alpha Center, a pro-life organization.

The Alpha Center is a nonprofit agency that provides services to women and couples involved in an unplanned pregnancy. It is included among links to similar organizations providing alternatives for women considering abortion, such as counseling and adoption, reported the Associated Press. The Alpha Center has lobbied in favor of the state's abortion ban.

Planned Parenthood state director Kate Looby told the AP that the links to pro-life groups, and to Alpha Center, were unfair.

However, a 2003 law requires a state website for abortion alternatives, making links to the Alpha Center and similar organizations perfectly legal. In this case, the law trumps a policy that forbids links to politically involved organizations.

"The statute specifically requires information be provided about alternatives to abortion, not abortion services. For that reason, the Alpha Center is included," Doneen Hollingsworth, state Health Department secretary, told the AP.

In 2004, Connecticut Gov. Mike Rounds asked the State Library board to remove a link to a Planned Parenthood site from a State Library website for teens, based on the policy that links to sites run by organizations that politically involved are inappropriate. Rounds' request had followed a letter from Bishop Robert Carlson, now former bishop of the Diocese of Sioux Falls.

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April 19, 2014

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