San Bernardino County ‘Abandons’ Proposal to Block Emergency Contraception Distribution in Clinics
The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors yesterday decided to "quietly set aside" its proposal to cease distribution of emergency contraception in county health clinics, the Los Angeles Times reports. The board voted 3-2 not to appeal a ruling against the proposal by a Los Angeles-based health agency. An appeal would have proceeded to HHS and "forced an important test of the Bush administration's stance on family planning," the Times reports (Gold, Los Angeles Times, 6/13). The county had asked for a waiver of federal law that requires government agencies receiving federal family planning funds to provide EC. But the California Family Health Council, the group responsible for distributing federal family planning money, said in April that the county did not demonstrate the "exceptional circumstances" necessary to grant that waiver (California Healthline, 5/4). Although the board has reserved the right to "revisit the issue," it has for now ended its campaign to stop EC distribution. County Supervisor Bill Postmus, a key supporter of the proposal, said he disagreed with the board's decision, stating that the issue was about "community standards and local control," notions "held dear" by the Bush administration. Jon Dunn, president and chief executive of Planned Parenthood of Orange and San Bernardino Counties, called the decision a "victory for the women of San Bernardino County ... Unintentional pregnancies will be avoided. Abortions will be reduced. And that was the outcome we were seeking" (Gold, Los Angeles Times, 6/13).