By Michael Howell
Although a vote to accept some end of the year Title X funds failed to pass the first time around with two commissioners absent, with a full board present last week the commissioners voted 3 to 2 to accept the money and to renew the Nurse Practitioner’s contract for another year.
Concerns were raised initially that accepting the funds, which totaled about $1,270, would also commit the county to implementing the Title X program for three months at a cost of about $10,500 when that FY 2014 funding had not been granted yet. Commissioner Greg Chilcott noted that the state had sent a letter assuring the commissioners that the county would receive $10,000 at the very least for the next fiscal year.
With the money side of the equation resolved, discussion then centered on the issue of young women under the age of 16 being able to receive birth control pills, or the ‘morning after’ pill without parental approval.
Commissioner Suzy Foss said that aside from the moral questions involved, and the use of taxpayer money, she also had medical concerns. Foss said that she had read some things about the longterm negative health effects that may be associated with the use of birth control pills.
Public Health Nurse Judy Griffin said that there may be some risk involved in taking the pills over the long term but there are also very negative impacts and risks associated with unwanted pregnancies of minors. She said every person receives counseling and is encouraged to discuss their issues with their parents.
Commissioner Ron Stoltz, who voted against accepting the funds the first time around, said, “Kids at school can’t even get an aspirin without parental approval and yet they can go around their parents and get birth control from a county operated clinic?”
Commissioner J.R. Iman said that the vast majority of Title X services are of benefit to people in the county. He said that reports from the Public Health Nurse show that only one child under the age of 16 was served at the clinic in the past year.
Foss said that she was torn over the issue but could not see depriving county residents of the many health services offered under Title X for those who can’t otherwise afford them.
“I don’t see the numbers to make this a significant issue,” she said.
Commission Chairman Jeff Burrows said that if a single child under age is allowed to circumvent parental approval due to the county program, that he could not accept it.
Separate motions to accept the carry-over funds and to renew the Nurse Practitioner’s contract for the coming fiscal year were each approved on a 3 to 2 vote, with Commissioners Stoltz and Burrows voting against them.