SALINA, Kansas – The Saline County Commission has rejected a $6,000 state grant for contraceptives that one commissioner said would be like accepting money for murder. The commission’s decision came during Tuesday’s meeting.
The funding battle began the end of May when Commissioner John Price compared an IUD, to murder.
The grant, which is worth $6,064, was from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment for intrauterine devices or IUDs.
Bronson Farmer, Saline County Health Department Director, requested that commissioners reconsider accepting the IUD grant.
Commissioners heard arguments from both sides after being greeted by public backlash the past three weeks.
“We made our vote. I think we’re pretty firm on our position,” said Chairman Randy Duncan, Saline Co. Commissioner.
“We are the board of health now, so, we’re just doing what, as commissioners, we feel is right,” said John Price, another Saline Co. Commissioner.
Half of the crowd stood to applaud the commission’s decision Tuesday afternoon, while the other half walked out in protest.
“By voting ‘no’ to not accept these funds, is making that decision for them,” said Saline Co. Health Department Director Bronson Farmer. “I don’t believe that decision is ours to make.”
Farmer tried his best to impress upon commissioners that IUDs are not ‘abortive,’ however his efforts were seemingly unsuccessful.
“This is exactly why we need a health board,” said Dr. David Dupy, the county’s medical consultant, who recommended the commission accept the funding.
The public was split.
“It is completely irresponsible,” said Salina resident, Chelsea Sutton. “We have a list of 20-some women who were requesting that service, and they will now be denied that service.”
Another woman addressed the commission: “Look at the people that are making the recommendation. These are your health department members of the medical community! None of the three of you have a medical background,” she said.
“It’s an abomination that you’re taking away the choice for women,” argued another woman in the crowd.
“I don’t think that the county health department should be in the business of birth control,” said another Saline Co. resident.
One man thanked the commissioners for “standing firm in their convictions,” and proceeded to thank them.
“Abortion is evil. It exploits women, kills babies, and destroys families,” the man argued.
Commissioner John Price told KSN that he feels confident in his decision. He said it was a “moral choice.”
“A lot of word of God… murder. I mean, I said that word,” said Price.
The debate has brought to light the nature of the county commission, putting the three male-only commission under fire. A petition is reportedly still in the works to create two additional spots on the commission.
KSN learned the petition still needs at least 200 additional signatures prior to the July deadline.