Official spars with abortion advocates
Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Gale on Thursday sparred with advocates of Planned Parenthood who took exception to comments he made at a rally in Berks County.
In a video posted on his Facebook page by the Berks County Republican Women, Gale is seen surrounded by fellow demonstrators outside of the Reading School District administrative offices saying Planned Parenthood should not receive taxpayer funding, nor should children be taught that abortion can be used as a form of birth control.
“We should be teaching our youth the importance of family values,” Gale said in the video. “And how the role of the parent is themost important role one individual will ever have.”
TheReadingSchoolBoard was considering whether to install a proposed resource center at Reading High School focused on reproductive health. The center would be managed in part by Planned Parenthood. The board eventually voted against the proposal in a 5-4 decision.
“We have to stay strong and encourage the local school board to vote no to Planned Parenthood at this high school and make sure that our voices are heard,” Gale said in the video. “And we put enough pressure that we stand for family values and we stand for the innocent unborn and we stand that our youth learn family values in their public education.”
Residents inMontgomery County Thursday objected to Gale’s comments during the commissionersmeeting, saying his remarks were irresponsible.
Katie Muth, a Royersford resident, called on Gale to refrain from posting what she called lies and smears of Planned Parenthood “being an abortion baby mill.”
“As someone who’s a leader in the community or an elected official it is really irresponsible A: to spread lies and it’s unacceptable to attackwomen’s freedomand access to healthcare,” she said. “I’m not sure if maybe you need to get your facts straight but it’s imperative that you be responsible for telling the truth.”
She suggested Gale put forth proposals that help economic and socioeconomic justice forwomen “instead of outright celebrating their lack of access to health care.”
“I was raised by a single dad,” she said. “And I used Planned Parenthood.”
In response, Gale called Planned Parenthood “America’s largest abortion mill.”
“Abortion is a legalized killing of innocent unborn babies,” he said, as members of the public jeered him. “And it’s wrong.”
Gale said he will always be an outspoken voice against abortion and the organizations that advocate or perform the practice. “I will not quietly standby while the life of society’s most innocent and vulnerable is destroyed,” he said.
Gale was also criticized by resident Eric Eckstein of Lower Merion who said he expected public officials from Montgomery County “to lead from this county. Not to start a campaign process spending time outside this county working on political things.”
“If you’re going to spend your time there, do it on your own time,” he said. “Do it when the campaign’s coming. We have important issues that obviouslywe’re addressinghereandweneed to focus on them in Montgomery County.”
In response, Gale said no one complained when former county commissioner Josh Shapiro campaigned across the state last year in his bid for attorney general.
“That’s because he’s a Democrat and complaining about him didn’t further your radical, liberal agenda,” Gale said, adding he works full time as a commissioner to make sure the county is a great place to live, work, worship and raise a family. “If accomplishing that goal requiresme to go beyond the county lines, I will do so.”
In response, commissioners’ Chairwoman Val Arkoosh, a Democrat, said she thought it was great that residents spoke their mind about issues that are very personal and important to many residents. Commissioner Ken Lawrence, another Democrat, said Gale has the right to share his views and people have the right to disagree with them.
Gale ended his comments by condemning another media organization forwhat he called “fake news.” He said hewas asked by a reporter to comment on the recent incidents in Charlottesville, Va. He provided his thoughts in writing, but said he later discovered multiple misquotes, and other changes when the article was published.
“They intentionally changed what I submitted in writing and then put it in quotes as being something I said,” he said. “That is fake news. That is a lie. That is a fabrication and that is unjust to me and the readers.”
He then criticized the editorial staff and called the newspaper “a liberal rag.”
The reporter in question declined to comment for this story.
Gale finally called for commissioners press conferences to be held in public rather than in a back room.
“The Democrat administration cowardly uses the biased media to cover up their failures in running this county,” he said.
Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Gale took flack frommembers of the public at Thursday’s commissioners’ meeting following his criticism of Planned Parenthood at a recent rally in Berks County.