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Michigan: Program to Close Without Funding

May 21, 2002

In Michigan, nearly 4,000 Oakland County women could lose family-planning services by October if the state does not commit funds to the program. Oakland County is $150,000 short of the amount needed to provide services such as prenatal checkups and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases to 3,800 low-income women.

The county is to close the program -- with a budget of $600,000 -- unless the state increases current funding from $302,000, Dr. Thomas Gordon, Oakland County director of human services, told the County Commission's general government. "I notified the state in November that we need additional funding," Gordon said. "Either the state will provide the funding or I intend to close the program." The state, he added, "has no right to assume we will fund their program."

The county appropriations committee approved a resolution last week urging the state to provide enough money to run the program. "What happens to these women?" asked Michelle Friedman Appel (D-Huntington Woods). "Should the third-richest county in the nation have women who can't get health care?" she asked.

The North Oakland Medical Center in Pontiac and Planned Parenthood have expressed interest in providing the women's services. But Planned Parenthood may not qualify for funds because of proposed legislation that gives funding priority to groups that do not perform abortions or provide information about the procedure. The funding measure has passed the Senate and is pending in the House.

Gordon said he is confident another agency will step in. He also said Wayne County opted out of its family-planning program last year because the state did not provide enough funding.

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Excerpted from:
Detroit Free Press
05.07.02; Laura Potts

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