published Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

Hamilton County Commission restores funding to family planning program


by Dan Whisenhunt

Hamilton County commissioners this morning unanimously agreed to fund a Family Planning program at the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department after health department officials gave a lengthy presentation assuring commissioners the money was not used to fund abortions.

“Our family planning program does not provide abortions, abortion counseling or referral,” Health Department Administrator Becky Barnes told commissioners. “Again, nothing to do with abortions.”

On May 4, county commissioners nearly stripped funding from the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department’s Family Planning program amid confusion about whether the morning after pill is an abortion pill. They are two separate pills, Barnes explained.

After that vote rejecting a $581,700 contract for family planning services through the health department, the commissioners reconsidered and voted to table the contract to get more information.

The Family Planning program is funded primarily with grant money.

See tomorrow’s Chattanooga Times Free Press for complete coverage.

about Dan Whisenhunt...

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 ...

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