A rally in support of funding for the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department’s Family Planning program will go on Wednesday as planned, despite reports that county commissioners intend to restore funding.
County Commission Chairman Larry Henry said he intends to reverse his earlier “no” vote to fund the program, but said he can’t predict how other commissioners will vote.
“I suspect there'll be a resolution,” Henry said. “I think that a lot of commissioners have had some questions and have got the information that they want.”
Commissioners initially voted not to fund the program with grant money because of concerns about whether the Health Department provides abortions. The Health Department does not.
Chris Brooks, an organizer with Chattanooga Organized for Action, said on the rally’s Facebook page that commissioners are not to be trusted.
“While county commissioners have been saying that they will be reversing last week's outrageous decision to deny family planning funding, don't EVER take a politician's word at face value,” Brooks said wrote on his Facebook page
Brooks said he expect a few dozen people to attend Wednesday’s rally.
“We're just making absolutely sure that they understand how important this is to the residents of Hamilton County that they allegedly represent,” he said.
On Monday, Girls Inc. of Chattanooga released a statement about the issue. The organization provides support and encouragement for girls in Chattanooga so they can “be strong, smart and bold - healthy, educated and independent.”
“It is essential that women of all incomes have access to family planning so that they can have families when they are financially and emotionally ready,” the organization said in a press release. “The services offered by the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department are critical.”
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 ...