HAMILTON – For the first time in more than 40 years, Ravalli County will not provide women’s health services through the federal Title X Family Planning program.

The Ravalli County Commission voted 3-2 to refuse the funds Friday morning.

The county was slated to receive a little less than $50,000 this next fiscal year to operate the county health department’s family planning clinic, which provides birth control, annual exams, pregnancy and pap tests, testing for sexually transmitted diseases, nutrition education and counseling on a sliding scale for women.

Ravalli County Public Health Director Judy Griffin said the commission’s decision means that as of Sept. 30, the county will no longer offer the services paid for by the Title X funding.

The program currently has a client list of about 400 women, mostly of low income.

The commission has been divided over its support for the program over the past few years, including a 3-2 vote earlier this year to accept partial funding for the program.

The vote for fiscal year 2014 funding was slated to occur Thursday morning.

After the board deadlocked 2-2, a motion was made to reconvene the meeting on Friday when Commissioner Suzy Foss was slated to return.

Commission Chairman Jeff Burrows said it was his understanding the board did not have to provide public notice when it continues a meeting from one day to the next.

Burrows said a handful of people at the meeting spoke out against the county accepting the federal funds. One person spoke in favor of the program.

In earlier votes, Foss had supported the program, albeit with some hesitation.

On Friday, commissioners Burrows, Foss and Ron Stoltz voted against accepting the funds. Commissioners J.R. Iman and Greg Chilcott voted to support the program.

Foss didn’t return a phone call Friday asking about her vote.

Burrows said later that while he supported most of the services provided by the family planning clinic, he was opposed to the program’s insistence that minors be served without parents first being notified.

“That issue of government stepping in between the child and parent relationship is the big one for me,” Burrows said.

Burrows said he didn’t like the idea that strings were attached to the funding and the commission was being forced to take the bad with the good.

The commission will look at the potential of finding funding to provide some of the services that the clinic has offered in the past, he said.

“Right now, I don’t know the legalities of the county being able to fund public heath, but if the county has some available funding for services that I feel are worthwhile, I would be for taking that to the board and trying to keep some services,” he said.

Chilcott said the issue of government stepping between parent and child in the Title X program has always been challenging for the commission.

“Unfortunately, Congress has put some nasty barbs in the bait with Title X funding,” Chilcott said.

Services like screening for cancers, STDs, HIV and reproductive health issues are important for the community, especially for those who can’t afford them,” he said.

“The board has had to weigh the costs versus the benefits,” he said. “In this case, the majority of the board found the social costs were more of a liability than the benefits are worth.”

Chilcott agreed the commission would probably look at the potential of the county providing some of the services the board agrees are beneficial to the citizens and taxpayers.

Griffin said she was “shocked” when told of the commission’s decision to defund the program Friday.

“There will be a lot of low-income people who will have to look for alternatives to the services we have provided for years,” Griffin said. “It’s hard for a lot of people to go to Missoula to access those services.”

Three years ago, when it appeared as though the commission would make a similar decision, Griffin said Planned Parenthood expressed interest in accepting the Title X funding for Ravalli County.

“I don’t know where they stand at this point,” she said. “It certainly would be an alternative.”

At this point, Griffin said her office will begin contacting the clinic’s 400 clients to let them know the services would no longer be available in Hamilton after September.

“We’ve had generations of people coming through this office to get birth control, counseling and other services,” she said. “It’s a huge concern for all of us on where those people are going to go for those services now.”

“We do want everyone to know that we totally appreciate the past and present support of the local medical community and from commissioners Chilcott and Iman,” she said.

Reporter Perry Backus can be reached at 363-3300 or at pbackus@ravallirepublic.com.

(57) comments

rastas
rastas

This is so sad. I went there for my first annual and I know my mom's cancer was found at this clinic. They did great work. This not only raises the price tag on preventative care but also raises the risk of people not getting the screening they need. They do more than just provide birth control to minors!!!!!!!

so sad!!!!!

Thinkin Conservative
Thinkin Conservative

The Bitterroot local and county governments are simply a bunch of FREAKS!!!

missionmouth
missionmouth

What could possibly make more sense than preventing unwanted pregnancies and the sometimes predictable outcome of abortion in women who would require public funding to deliver and raise those children? What makes more sense than early detection of cancer for women who would require public funding for most treatment?

What makes more sense than this? Rabid republicanism.

The only thing that make more sense is blaming a 14 year old student in crisis for relying on
her adult mentor.

No republicans don't have a war on women: they have a war on common sense.

Rabbit-brush
Rabbit-brush

"... but if the county has some available funding for services THAT I FEEL ARE WORTHWHILE (emphasis added), I would be for taking that to the board and trying to keep some services..." All hail the potentate of Ravalli County!

“The board has had to weigh the costs versus the benefits...In this case, the majority of the board found the social costs were more of a liability than the benefits are worth.”

Really? Cancer screening, nutrition education, family planning, STD testing, and pregnancy testing don't outweigh the "social costs" deemed most critical by three ideologically-driven commissioners? Is this a case of "you get the government you deserve" (in that you voted them in) or were Ravalli Co. women duped by these regressive knuckle-draggers?

Dcmissoula
Dcmissoula

Oh the left's sacred cow(s). I don't see what the big deal is wasn't Obama elected to take care of women any way?

whitelandia
whitelandia

lol first of all i have to watch what i say or the onamatrons at the paperw ill not accept my criticisms. I have no problem for what is going on in montana. turmoil created by democrats at every level. Democrat ex governor, democrat governor, democrat us senators...lol alld emocrats....

Objective observer
Objective observer

You are aware the the politicians who voted to refuse the money are republicans, aren't you? But it's the democrats fault. Typical right-wing thought process at work for all to see.

TheArmadillo
TheArmadillo

English isn't your first language, is it?

whitelandia
whitelandia

I find all this rather funny & great!!! How could this happen in the world of Hussein obama the savior of America, the former democrat Governor dog man, who loved Obama and loves national health care and the current Democrat Governor.... Also two democrat usa senators? wow all these democrats and no money? wow bush...has to be is fault... not all the democrat obama trons that are in office? nah cant blame them.. I left Montana because the state is full of carp... they elect do nothing governors, do nothing us senators, do nothing obama lovers.....all democrat and yet no positive results? montana deserves all the grief they get....

Clark Kent
Clark Kent

We haven't missed you at all.

Bones
Bones

If you want people to take you seriously, you should learn how to write.

Thinkin Conservative
Thinkin Conservative

Glad your presence is polluting our state.

Thinkin Conservative
Thinkin Conservative

Thank goodness you are no longer a resident polluting our great state!

Atheist Educator
Atheist Educator

whitelandia, how are things in Leith, SD?

lightninsam
lightninsam

That would be N.D.----

big sage
big sage

Governments role should be to make life as miserable as possible for its citizens....

Rez Kid
Rez Kid

How come there is no funding for "Men's Health Services"??? How come there have been over 6000 laws passed in the last 50 years to empower or benefit women but zero for men?? Seems a little one sided??? What is thier yearly budget?? I'm sure they don't operate on $50,000 a year. $50,000 doesn't go very far, maybe enough for one employee and building expenses. How much does it really cost to operate for one year?? How can $50,000 be enough for 400 clients?? Must be money coming in from somewhere else too??

D
D

It's because we women have been, and continue to be DISCRIMINATED against. FYI: Women have only been allowed to vote since 1920, the discrimination/suppression list goes on and on.

Roger
Roger

Cry me a river - women now receive special treatment, not discrimination like the male-only draft registration. Men were actually drafted up until and including the Vietnam War, while women have never been drafted. How about the hiring and promoting of less-qualified women over more-qualified men and the reduced physical standards for women in some occupations? How about the fact that men comprise something like 92 percent of workplace deaths, because men perform most of the hard, dangerous work in this country?

D
D

Look who's crying now...

FYI: EVERYTHING you cited above only makes my point. Peace out.

in the pines
in the pines

I wish our Ravalli County Commissioners would get their heads out of their a$$es. Stop turning down money just because 1 service out of many many is offered. Over 400 women use the service and you're going to cut the entire program? Idiots, idiots, idiots. Problems is that every time we throw the bums out, we get a new batch of the same bums, just different faces. Wish I could move, I would. Ravalli County has always been right wing, John Birch, Militia, want-to-control-your-life politicians, don't care if D or R, all the same.

Dcmissoula
Dcmissoula

Sooo are you calling the Commissioners bums? Or the 400 clients receiving a tax payer funded, free service?

MT_Mama
MT_Mama

Ah, the ignorant backwater that is Ravalli County politics. So glad we left there and will NEVER move back.

Montana
Montana

They absolutely sicken me as-well-as the people who voted them in. SHAME on ALL of you.

Bittersweet
Bittersweet

Remember it took women to vote them in as well.

Notinmissoula
Notinmissoula

Don't throw Darby into it- Hamilton is it's own type of backward Conservative. Hopefully those women can all carpool to Missoula for services. Then they can all make sure they are registered to vote!!!!

pl
pl

Again, this board of commissioners makes a decision based on their own personal whims and not for the benefit of Ravalli County citizens! (I refer to their "Legacy Ranch" decision.)
Low income women now have no access to health issues because the commissioners want "no strings attached". Guess what, there are always strings attached to money. The problem is when, the right once again, tries to interject their beliefs into a woman's body and well being. This throws women AND girls under the bus. Men and boys don't suffer. Only the women do. How this commission can continue to stay in office and make these ridiculous decisions is beyond belief. Suzy, you in particular, are in my sites since you ARE a woman and should have voted for the health and well being of your own sex! You're too busy blabbing about wolves instead of what our citizens really need. I can't wait until the next election!!!! We're going to vote Burrows, Suzy, and Stoltz out of office!

John P Weber
John P Weber

I've known Ron Stoltz since high school and I never thought he would be so bigoted has to vote against women like this.

ruleoflaw
ruleoflaw

Good for these Commissioners. This is not a proper function of government in the first place and Congress has no constitutional authority to appropriate this money.

Thanks to these Commissioners for upholding their oath of office, even when the Congress does not!

Bones
Bones

http://spp.sagepub.com/content/early/2013/06/13/1948550613492826.abstract

Ya, about that...

Atheist Educator
Atheist Educator

Bones, that is correct. The fact that "religious individuals and political conservatives are highly insensitive to consequentialist considerations" is demonstrated in any discussion about abortion where the anti-crowd argues for "personhood," that is, full citizenship from conception.

In a recent thread, those who favored "personhood" were confronted with the consequences of this action, such as investigating all miscarriages as potential homicides, outlawing most forms of birth control and fertility treatments, etc. and they are unable to deal with those eventualities. They either ignores them or, in a fascist approach, say that we'll just have to live with them.

Still Here
Still Here

Remember when this group cut youth services because of lack of funds. There are five of these clowns employed my Ravalii County, Missoula County has three, Yellowstone County has three. They talked about cutting funds and moving to three commissioners but NO. Sad to live in Ravalli County.

msogirl
msogirl

So will the county be providing financial support to the pregnancies that could happen due to this funing not being there? What's more cost effective - providing birth control to any woman (sorry folks once you begin to menstrate you are a woman) or providing years of support with Medicaid, food stamps & other low income programs? What about the women who go without medical check ups & find out that they have stage 4 breast cancer? Stage 3 cervical cancer? How sad that this is happening in a county in Montana.

D
D

I know! MEN with their own misogynistic agendas, attempting to suppress women. They have awakened the sleeping giant--WOMEN.

Dcmissoula
Dcmissoula

Total misandry on your part. You women would be nothing if it wasn't for men's money and ingenuity.

D
D

And there it is, folks, a perfect example of a misogynist. FYI:

Sex, Domestic Violence and Rape:
In terms of the global sex trade, an estimated 50,000 women are trafficked into the US each year. The USA is both a destination country for trafficking, as well as a source country. This means that American women ARE kidnapped, or otherwise coerced into the sex trafficking industry. Women are often lured into the sex trade under false pretenses; being hired as waitresses or maids and then forced into prostitution. This is not just a problem for developing countries. It is here, on our own soil.

In the US, 23 women a week are killed by intimates. This has held steady for more than a decade. 74% of women murdered from instances of domestic violence were murdered after the woman left the relationship, filed for divorce or got a restraining order. Our government has failed to protect women from abusive partners, and band-aid solutions like restraining orders are proven to be, ultimately, ineffective. The only country with more women known to have been killed by domestic violence than the US is Russia.

Up to 700,000 rapes occur in the USA each year. 18% of American women have survived a rape or attempted rape. In 2001 39% of rapes were reported to the police. 81% of rape victims are white, 18% are black. Fortunately, marital rape is a criminal offense in the USA.

Abortion Rights

Christian fundamentalists continually seek to impose increasing social restrictions on women. We see this because, between 1995 and 2007, 301 anti-choice measures were enacted by state legislatures. 87% of counties in the US are now not served by an abortion provider. Roe v. Wade may stand, but on a state level, women are increasingly oppressed, and hypocritical “anti-big government” Republican politicians seek to legislatively erase women’s power over their own bodies.

In the Workplace

Women still earn 72 cents for every man a dollar earns. In 2008, women occupied only 15% of board positions of Fortune 500 companies.

On a Global Scale

While countries such as Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan have signed and ratified the CEDAW treaty (Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women) the US is the only signatory that hasn’t ratified it. One aspect of CEDAW would outlaw female genital mutilation-a common practice in developing countries intended to reduce female sexual desire, and thus, ensure virginity at the time of marriage. Not only are women oppressed in the US, the US won’t acknowledge the plight of women in more demeaned, oppressed situations on an international level.

This data was updated in 2009, in the fourth edition of The Penguin Atlas of Women in the World.

Objective observer
Objective observer

And you wouldn't be here if you weren't carried to term by a woman.

Thinkin Conservative
Thinkin Conservative

HA! You are a real piece of work!

Thinkin Conservative
Thinkin Conservative

The Bitterroot local and county governments are simply a bunch of FREAKS!!!

Dcmissoula
Dcmissoula

I love it! With all the problems this country is facing, the Missoula liberal league of Hacks shows up for this. It's almost as if the only thing important to these people is being a woman and nothing else.

Objective observer
Objective observer

Dcmissoula = PROUD misogynist

Longhorn Fan
Longhorn Fan

All funding for males should be thrown out. Cialis-- when the time is right and also ask your doctor if you are healthy enough for sex. Why let the males have their clinics so they can s#&*@ the women and at the same time prevent the women for having their clinics to learn how to prevent pregnancy and also if they are healthy enough for sex. They should be opening clinics to NEUTER males. Oh that's right, they have them. They are called veterinary clinics-- the doctors there are used to neutering CURS. I hope that the people in the county can afford all the babies that will be born to families that can't afford them. Because men will be men-- and won't keep their pants on or their fly zipped up.

Roger
Roger

I believe women have something to say about that - it takes two to tango after all.

D
D

Agreed. Like insurance companies paying for men's erection drugs, but not for women's birth control. It is so obviously DISCRIMINATION against women, plain and simple.

montanamuralist
montanamuralist

All three should be recalled immediat3ely....they will not be because the clowns that elected these anti women fools are as ignorant as the commissioners. This will backfire sooner than these Tea Party conservative fools think. You can't wage war on an entire gender and survive at the polls for long. Even in the Iron Curtain County of Ravalli.

D
D

Exactly. They have awoken a whole new generation of women to the fact that there are still (mostly misogynistic men) those out there who feel the need to suppress women. We will NOT stand for it!

PhilT
PhilT


The correlation between birth control pills with estrogen and the rise in breast cancer rates skyrocketing is not a coincidence. Parental participation with minor children's medical decisions is an authority too often usurped by the courts and public education system's once size fits all approach to important issues which should be left solely to parental influence and direction. War on women perhaps, but imposed by whom? Leftist secular fundamentalism. We've had enough. Good for the three commissioners who stood up and said no to federal government intrusion. If you are truly concerned over the plight of women deemed to be "poor", then march against 80% of abortion clinics operating in minority neighborhoods instead of whining about minimum wages at fast food restaurant.

brmoderate
brmoderate

@PhilT - Do you not realize that the majority of young people who have active sex lives don't have an active parent at home, one that will guide them and perhaps keep them from getting pregnant. Once again the republican mindset is such that 'they know what is best' and the rest be damned. As for the war on women, I truly hope the 400 women who are affected say to their partners, no more until these yayhoos are voted out.

D
D

Where on EARTH do you get your "scientific" info? CITE them...can't, right?

Bittersweet
Bittersweet

"We’ve had generations of people coming through this office to get birth control...."

........Ummmmm, no comment.

open mind
open mind

Are you trying to be funny? Do you realize that couples who have access to birth control will continue to have children, but on their own terms and when they can afford to raise them? When they have the opportunity to do their children justice by waiting until they have the resources to give them the life they deserve? Or are you laboring under the ignorant idea that if people have access to birth control, they will never have children?

Bittersweet
Bittersweet

Ah yes, people are thinking things out.....making conscious decisions...only having children when they can afford to raise them. What a wonderful World that would be.

Amabo
Amabo

Obviously, extremist Republicans continue their war on women! So very sorry for the 400 women and families that will suffer...

wes d
wes d

Typical Ravalli county Republicans; denying women in need crucial medical services all for the sake of their politics. This is pathetic! Will they deny any and all federal funding? Roads? Fire fighting? Ravalli county politicians, a bunch of bitter, sour little children trying to prove a point all at the expense of people in need.

HelenWheels
HelenWheels

Ravalli County is already doing the absolute bare minimum of road maintenance it can get away with. I drive on a road that gets both Missoula and Ravalli maintenance. The difference is astounding.

Bob
Bob

It will be reassuring for those who have to do without these services that their commission at least had their social well-being in mind, never mind they fall I'll or get some other preventable disease. Gotta love compassionate conservatism. Only pol pot could show more.

mtbluedog
mtbluedog

"On Friday, commissioners Burrows, Foss and Ron Stoltz voted against accepting the funds."

You three worthless, ignorant slobs. The funding is for preventative medicine and education that pays for itself many times over down the road. You're a bunch of paranoid anti-government freaks. Why are in you government yourself? Go back to Kentucky or your little hollow near Darby and grow your potatoes and whine about the taxes you have to pay. Oh, and load your gun, too, because the Black Helicopters loaded with Blue UN Helmets are on their way.

Vote those slobs out next time around.

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