A federal judge yesterday ordered Office of Personnel Management Director Donald J. Devine to "immediately include" the Planned Parenthood Federation of America Inc. in this year's Combined Federal Campaign, the government-sanctioned charity drive for federal employes.
The ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Joyce H. Green came less than four hours after Devine refused to reconsider his decision Wednesday to exclude the group because of its "failure to comply with financial and accounting standards required by OPM rules."
Devine said after Green's ruling that he had "expected the judge to review it his decision . The judge had a different view than I did and we will comply." He said there would be no appeal.
Green said her order was "unequivocal and unrestrained" and ordered Devine to inform some 550 local campaign organizations of the decision "immediately . . . within 24 hours."
The ruling came just five days before those groups have to decide which of the OPM-approved charities to include in their campaigns. It ended weeks of bitter fighting between Devine--supported by anti-abortion groups--and Planned Parenthood, which operates some clinics where abortions are performed and abortion referrals provided.
Green, noting Devine's "candidly admitted bias" against the organization because of its position on abortion, said the technical reasons he gave for excluding it were "pretextual."
Planned Parenthood had been audited by a national accounting firm that certified the accounting procedures it used, Green said, and the OPM had not shown any "substantial irregularities" in those procedures.
Green said federal employes, who have been contributing to Planned Parenthood since 1968 and last year gave it about $500,000, must be permitted to exercise their rights to "choose to donate or not to do so." She said the group would be "irrevocably harmed" by being barred from the fund drive.