After three hours of debate, the Northern Kentucky Independent District Health Board Wednesday night voted 14-13 to retain Title X family planning funding and continue providing contraceptives to poor women. At issue were allegations from some local anti-abortion groups claiming that birth control caused abortions. Kenton County Commissioner Barb Black, a member of the health board, a registered nurse and an anti-abortion leader in the area, called the attempt to redefine America’s popular birth control pill as an abortion drug scientifically flawed. “It’s a condemnation of the medical community for prescribing it, of pharmacists for dispensing it and even married couples for using it,” she told the Cincinnati Enquirer. Board Chairman Greg Kennedy explained after casting his tie-breaker vote: “I believe [rejecting Title X funding] was going to disrupt services to the people that need and rely on the health department the most. When you mix politics with medicine, you get very bad medicine.”
This fiscal year, the health board received nearly $170,000 in Title X funding for the northern Kentucky counties of Boone, Campbell, Kenton, and Grant. Approximately 4,500 women receive reproductive health services in that area. Title X provides family planning monies to states for distribution to various providers who are required to give “neutral, factual information and nondirective counseling in each of the options” related to pregnancy.