Hamilton County commissioners have postponed a vote on funding a program that provides emergency contraception to women, after initially turning down the resolution for a Family Planning Services program at the health department.
Rejecting the resolution also has the effect of cutting out support for other contraceptive services, such as condoms, as well, according to Health Department administrator Becky Barnes.
Commissioner Mitch McClure raised the issue of the morning-after pill, asking whether the contraception program, which is funded with $581,700 in grant money, provides the pill to women.
Barnes said it does.
Commissioners voted 6-2 against the resolution; Chairman Larry Henry and Commissioner Greg Beck were the only votes for it, but afterward Chairman Larry Henry changed his vote to no. Afterward, Barnes explained that the morning-after pill does not cause abortions, saying it is only intended to prevent pregnancy.
“We make sure the person isn’t pregnant, even if we gave them the morning-after pill,” Barnes said. “It does not abort a pregnancy.”
That did not satisfy questions of commissioners, but it did cause them to unanimously table the resolution and agree to revisit it at a later date.
Commissioner Joe Graham said he still has reservations.
“I don't believe God makes a mistake when he creates a baby,” Graham said.
Dan Whisenhunt covers Hamilton County government for the Times Free Press. A native of Mobile, Ala., Dan earned a degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Alabama. He won first place for best in-depth news coverage in the 2010 Alabama Press Association contest; the FOI-First Amendment Award in the 2007 Alabama Press Association contest; first place for best public service story in the Alabama AP Managing Editors contest in 2009 for economic coverage; and ...