Office of Personnel Management director Donald J. Devine yesterday excluded the Planned Parenthood Federation of America Inc. from the Combined Federal Campaign, the government-sanctioned charity drive.
The decision, which OPM said was based on the group's "failure to comply with financial and accounting standards required by OPM rules," came shortly before the expiration of a deadline set by U.S. District Court Judge Joyce Hens Green, who had been petitioned by Planned Parenthood attorneys seeking a quick decision. This year's drive is scheduled to begin Oct. 1, and decisions on almost all other groups were made Sept. 1.
Green said that if a decision was not made before 3 p.m. yesterday, she would order the group included.
Planned Parenthood operates some clinics where abortions are performed and offers abortion referrals .
Planned Parenthood President Faye Wattleton said "we're disappointed but not surprised" at the decision, adding that she believed Devine's "hostility" to abortion--"and not any of the so-called technical issues"--dictated the decision.
Devine, asked if he was confident that a court would back up his decision to exclude the group because its application was "not sufficiently candid and complete," said, "No. As I say in my decision document, I'm making the best decision I can make . . . . I act in full knowledge that the court's going to review it, and if I didn't do it right, the court's going to correct me."
Devine added that he had applied the same standards to the other 149 groups that were admitted to the campaign, although he said, "I think my position on the issue of abortion makes it more difficult for me to apply the same standards to them as to everybody else."
The decision met with immediate praise from a coalition of religious and anti-abortion groups that had reviewed Planned Parenthood's finances to find a technical reason for excluding it after a court prohibited OPM from excluding it as an advocacy group.