UPDATE: Saline Co. Commission rejects IUD grant money

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Salina, Kan. -- The Saline County Commission has voted to reject federal grant money for IUD's.

Commissioner John Price tells KAKE News that the commission voted to uphold their original rejection of the federal funding which helps the county purchase Intrauterine Devices or IUD's, a common form of birth control.

During a commission meeting last month, Commissioner Price said he opposed the use of intrauterine devices, or IUDs, which the $6,064 grant from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment would fund. Price had said he is not against birth control but that IUD's cause abortions.

Commissioner Price says there will be no further discussion on the issue and declined to be interviewed further for this story.

Previous Story:
The Saline County Commissioners did not make a decision Tuesday afternoon whether they would reverse the rejected grant money to buy IUDs. They say they'll meet with a medical director to further evaluate the matter.

The County Health Department Director, Brunson Farmer, says this is the first time since he's been in the department that the commission has rejected grant money. "I think it's doing a disservice to the citizens of Saline county. So I hope that we can eventually get to that right decision."

Farmer says he is excited that the topic is still on the table and feels confident the commissioners will make the right decision by accepting the grant money. "Many of the health departments in the state of Kansas do provide some sort of birth control or family planning so I think it really does fall under public health."

However, Commissioner John Price stands by his belief that these devices cause abortions. "As far this commission funding it, I say no," said Price.

Price doesn't believe this falls under the health department's responsibilities. "I'm not telling every woman that they cannot go get an IUD, they can go get it. I'm saying that I'm not going to approve it with our health department. It's not our responsibility."

The health department tells us there are already a number of people interested in the IUD. "Once we get these items purchased, then we will be able to contact those people and see if they are still interested."
He says this gives at-risk women an option to prolong their health and even help prevent diseases. Farmer describes says "at-risk" doesn't mean "poor." This six thousand dollar grant would give women, regardless of income, access to this health service. " I think that not providing services because there might be high income people utilizing it is just the wrong way to go."

Judy Carson, says while she doesn't support abortion, she believes women be able to make their own choices on whether to buy an IUD or not. "It's not just over one item, an IUD, we need to provide access for the health of the community."

While this has been a debate for several weeks, the decision is at a stand still. Randy Duncan, Saline County Commissioner, said "I'm not making any different decision today without consulting more with the medical director."

Other debates over the IUD issue:

There was talk the IUD would be inserted by physicians at the Saline County Health Department.

Director Farmer said "we will not be inserting these at the health department...they will be set over to a physician, a physician's office and inserting them and they will be responsible for that follow up care."

The Saline County Commissioners hope after visiting with the medical director they can make a decision by next Tuesday.

The deadline to purchase the IUDs is June 30th.

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