ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The city of Rochester has put in a ‘Request for Proposal’ for funding local groups that support anti-violence initiatives as part of the Rochester Peace Collective.

One of the organizations on that list is Planned Parenthood. Groups today in front of City Hall argued Planned Parenthood is not an anti-violence organization, and they already receive enough money on the federal, state, and local levels.

68 organizations tried to become part of this collective. The city selected 20 and will send them in total $5 million dollars in American Rescue Plan money.

Mayor Malik Evans announced on Thursday the selection process for the first round of funding of the Rochester Peace Collective.

“One of the 20 programs that the Peace Collective will fund, the In Control Program, has been in our community for more than 25 years and is supported and utilized by many organizations and schools in our community,” Mayor Evans said. “Planned Parenthood of Central & Western New York oversees the In Control program. […] It will help teens of color in Rochester reject violence by learning valuable skills to overcome systemic racism and engage in positive behaviors.”

With Rochester’s homicide rate getting close to last year’s record, the city has been looking for solutions to help end the violence on the street level — starting with youth and working with families. Speakers today in front of City Hall said this RFP funding really has small businesses and local groups in mind — not something as large as Planned Parenthood.

Speakers said Planned Parenthood already gets half a billion dollars in taxpayer money from the federal government alone. Abortion some are saying is violence, not medicine, and does little in the way of violence prevention, hence why is it included in the Rochester Peace Collective?

Planned Parenthood weighed in, saying for 25 years, they have offered a safe space for Rochester youth to be their authentic selves while giving them tools and support needed to succeed and become vital members of the community. In other words, giving youth start and chance to succeed. They said they look forward to working in coalition with their partners as a member of the Rochester Peace Collective. Speakers want the Peace Collective to erase Planned Parenthood off the list. 

“It would be different if Planned Parenthood was an organization that would periodically push into our local schools and talk about contraceptives, talk about abstinence, to talk about planned parenting, but that’s not one of the things that they do. One of the things they support is the termination of pregnancies,” FACTS Youth Program member Antonia Winter said.

“And it seems Planned Parenthood’s locations are strategically placed to prey upon minority communities in particular. The Black community makes up about 15-percent of the population in Monroe County — but accounts for 40-percent of all abortions,” CompassCare Pregnancy Services representative Daniel Thompson said.

The speakers today are hoping the mayor and City Council hears them on this and will re-think the inclusion of Planned Parenthood.