Colo. County Prohibited EC at Family Planning Clinics, Despite Health Department's Testimony

February 7, 2013 — The 2010 decision by commissioners in Weld County, Colo., to prohibit Title X family planning clinics from dispensing emergency contraception went against expert testimony stating that it does not cause an abortion, according to an investigation by the Colorado Independent.

The newspaper obtained documents from a 2010 meeting of the Weld County Commission that show Commissioner William Garcia raised concern about EC being available at local clinics that receive federal Title X funding. Weld County receives about $400,000 in Title X funding annually, and EC had been offered at county clinics for a decade at the time of the meeting.

At the meeting, Garcia said he read online that EC can destroy fertilized eggs. He said this means EC is an abortifacient and, thus, cannot be funded at the clinics because of laws barring public funding of abortion.

However, Mark Wallace, the county's medical chief, testified that "he has a strong professional opinion that Plan B does not disrupt established pregnancies" and that the "language placed in the agreement regarding Plan B should be medically accurate and should not refer to [the drug] as an abortive agent," according to the meeting minutes.

The five-member board voted unanimously to approve Garcia's proposal to prohibit the Title X clinics in the county from offering EC. The county now refers women to other providers, including Planned Parenthood, to obtain EC.

A spokesperson for the county commissioners said they do not plan to review the EC policy (Tomasic, Colorado Independent, 2/5).