Planned Parenthood critical of Ravalli Co. refusal of federal family planning money
Planned Parenthood of Montana calls a decision by Ravalli County commissioners to refuse federal funds for family planning a "grave, shortsighted" decision.
It said the nearly 400 clients served by the health department's program will face hurdles to obtain affordable care.
But at least one county commissioner said the local community could raise money for services.
A majority of the board objects to requirements that under age clients can receive services without parental consent.
Services stop at the end of the month. Nearly 400 clients use the family planning services that will dry up in 3 weeks.
Planned Parenthood of Montana offers the same Title X services. The closest location is Missoula.
"I think broadly what we can say right now," said Planned Parenthood of Montana Communications Director Lindsay Love, "is that now more than ever, Montanans can't afford to compromise on services that really do provide a line to low income Montanans."
Ravalli County commissioners support most of the services that family planning provides.
Commissioner Suzy Foss said we need to stop being reliant on the federal government and adding federal debt to new generations. She said the community raises lots of money for hunting, fishing and the Humane Society, so why not family planning?
"If we can't raise $50,000 and make it a predictable amount every year...and we have 59 churches in the valley." said Foss." If every church gave a thousand dollars we would have the funding. We have private citizens who could help."
Foss, who is a Republican, said there are people from both sides of the aisle willing to help. But critics said money is never that easy to come by in Ravalli County.
Planned Parenthood said there are nearly 64,000 Montanans of reproductive age who need publicly funded Title X services.
It said nearly 70 percent -- or 40,000 individuals -- aren't getting the services they need.