Following a debate in which they were called an “embarrassment” by some, and urged by others not to fund a “tributary that leads to a river of abortion”, Saline County Commissioners will not reverse a decision to not accept a state grant to fund long activating versatile contraceptive birth control.
As a large crowd of citizens and media looked on, for the third week in a row, commissioners Tuesday afternoon discussed the issue. After all was said and done, the commission unanimously indicated they will not reverse the decision made three weeks ago, and they will not accept the grant funding.
Health Department Executive Director Bronson Farmer spoke in favor of accepting the funding, as did Dr. David Dupy, the county’s medical consultant. Both said that the type of birth control does not cause abortions, which has become a key issue.
Citizens, both for and against accepting the grant money spoke.
Some were indignant, saying that the commissioners were taking away a woman’s choice. The argument was that the decision should be between a woman and her doctor. One woman said that the commission was an embarrassment, and was giving Salina a “black eye”.
Those supporting the decision to not accept the money were just as passionate. They cited health risks for the woman, and fears of abortion. One man said “IUDs are a tributary that leads to a river of abortion” and he said this grant money amounted to nothing more than “blood money”.
Both Farmer and Dupy expressed disappointment in the decision.
Farmer said that science shows these devices are not abortive. He said that the department is being denied the opportunity to offer a choice that can stop unwanted pregnancies, changing lives forever and for generations.
Dupy told KSAL News afterwards that his biggest frustration is that he believes decisions like these should be made by a board of health professionals. Previously these decisions were made by a health advisory board. When the health department became a county agency back in January, though, the board was disbanded. Like any other county agency, county commissioners now make decisions on things like grant funding for it.
Commissioner John Price, who has been the most vocal against accepting the grant fudning, said his opinion on the issue has only gotten stronger. He said afterwards that morality and word of God play into his opinion, and that he still believes this form of birth control can cause an abortion. “I still believe that it’s murder” he said.
Price also blamed the city for the health advisory board being disbanded. He said “they were the Salina / Saline County Health Department board, and Salina chose to back out of that. As commissioners we are doing what we feel is right.” He added “because Salina dumped on us, we are the board of health now”.
This would have been the third year in a row for this funding in Salina. The health department has accepted this grant funding for the last two years.