In response to leaders of Miami County voting against drawing down federal funds for a program that has long provided birth control to low income families, a group of area residents has raised the money.
The Miami County Commission voted 3-2 last month to not apply for federal family planning funds that would provide contraceptives to about 150 low-income people in the region.
Board members who voted in favor of the move have said the funds are not a good use of taxpayer money. But residents like Michael Young, who objected to the board’s actions, have since come up with the money through private donations.
“Family health issues are discussed with a family physician and should be kept private,” says Young. “But [the commission] is bringing it out on a public sector and telling women in this instance that, ‘well, I don’t think you should have a right to use that,’ when really it’s a private decision.”
Young’s group presented a large check, representing $9,540, to the commission during its most recent board meeting. The board agreed to allow the health department to accept the funds.
According to the county’s administrator, by not applying for the federal funding for contraceptives, the county will likely be ineligible for any federal family planning money, which covers other services and associated administrative costs.
The Kansas Department of Health will announce the final funding decisions later this spring. A spokesperson with the department says Miami County is the only place in the state to not include birth control in its family planning grant application.
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