Tucson, Ariz., Parks Department Considers Adding Locations to Condom Dispensation Program; Controversy Over Public Notice
The Tucson, Ariz., Parks and Recreation Department next week is scheduled to hold a hearing to discuss the installation of condom dispensers at additional neighborhood recreation centers, the Arizona Daily Star reports. At the request of Planned Parenthood of Southern Arizona, the department, which currently allows dispensers at two facilities and has "tentatively" approved two more, will consider if the program can include the Quincie Douglas Neighborhood Center. The dispensers, which were "quietly" installed three years ago, are part of Planned Parenthood's Protection Connection Program. The program also maintains and stocks condom vending machines at seven "non-city facilities frequented by teenagers," the Daily Star reports. Reenie Ochoa, Southwest District administrator for the Parks Department, said that former Parks Department Director Dan Felix, who died earlier this year, created an administrative procedure under which the four locations that have or are slated to get the machines were approved. City Council Member Jose Ibarra (D) said that a decision "about something as potentially controversial as whether to provide condoms in city facilities should have been made by the mayor and City Council, not by administrators," according to the Daily Star. City Council Member Steve Leal (D) added that the department should have made more effort to notify the public about the meetings. Ochoa said that the current process requires a meeting and public notification, but it does not specify how the public should be notified. Patti Caldwell, president of Planned Parenthood of Southern Arizona, said that the dispensers at the recreation centers are "utilized more heavily than anyplace else." Ochoa added that the machines already installed have been "no problem whatsoever" (Burchell, Arizona Daily Star, 3/11).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.