SALINA, Kansas – The Saline County Commission continues reconsidering the $6,064 state grant that would pay for contraceptives, namely intrauterine devices, or IUDs. Although a decision was expected to be made during their meeting Tuesday afternoon, it remains on hold.
Saline Co. Health Department Director, Bronson Farmer, addressed the three man commission Tuesday, requesting that the commission reconsider their decision not to accept the funds.
By the end of the meeting, however, it became clear Farmer’s request remains at a stand still.
“I’m not making any different decision today without consulting more with our medical director,” said Chairman Randy Duncan.
Duncan told KSN that the issue will once again be brought up during next week’s meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, June 10.
The deadline to purchase the IUDs, if the commission decides to accept the money, is June 30.
The funding battle began the end of May when Commissioner John Price compared an IUD, to murder.
“It is murder to take this money from the federal government. It is only $6,000, but to me it’s murder, and I’m not going to stand for it,” said John Price, Salina Co. Commissioner.
The commission voted unanimously to reject a federal grant to fund the IUD form of birth control for the county health department. Quickly however, commissioners were greeted by public backlash.
Many residents Tuesday were increasingly critical of Commissioner Price.
“His personal religious ideals then are dictating to women what is available to them,” said David Norlin, a Salina resident. “He says that… he’s not playing God, but in effect, he is.”
Norman E. Mannel, another Salina resident, posed the question, “Why are three males making a decision involving a woman’s decision?”
“I don’t know that elected officials should be making decisions about medical things,” said Randall Hardy, a Salina City Commissioner.
“I’m against abortion, but the government doesn’t have the right to tell me whether I can have one or not,” said Judy Larson.
It begs the question: “Whose jurisdiction does the ‘birth control business’ fall under?”
Farmer argued that it is a matter of public health.
“Unwanted pregnancies are a public health problem,” said Farmer. “Our job is for us to take a look at options, and then allow the individual citizens to make their choice.”
KSN contacted Commissioner Price last week for comment.
“If someone wants to use birth control of their choice, that’s fine, but the county doesn’t need to be funding this. I’m not telling people what to do, but I’m not giving my stamp of approval.”