The Tennessee Conservative [By Jason Vaughn] –
New legislation that was recently introduced in Davidson County could soon be providing residents with free birth control and family planning counseling.
The bill is sponsored by Councilwoman Emily Benedict and co-sponsored by four other council members. It would make birth control pills, patches, injections, and prophylactics free for Davidson County residents through the Metro Public Health Department. Long-acting birth controls such as implants and IUDs are not included.
“This is something that I’m putting forward to make sure that if the country doesn’t want there to be abortions, if the state doesn’t want there to be abortions, then the best way to prevent that is to prevent being pregnant in the first place,” said Benedict.
Co-sponsor Councilwoman Ginny Welsch believes that birth control is something everyone should be able to choose personally.
“Reproductive health is personal to everyone – it is absolutely everything,” Welsch stated. “One thing can change your life massively, intrinsically, it can change the trajectory of your life.”
These services are currently available through the Health Department, but residents are charged for them based on their income.
Sponsors were asked if there was any concern that the bill would place unnecessary strain on the Health Department to provide these additional services.
“This is basic health care. That is the job of our health department to provide,” Welsch said.
According to Welsch, there has not been a lot of feedback on the program, good or bad.
“I haven’t heard anything positive or negative about this bill from my colleagues or the community at large, I don’t think it will be difficult to get through. I think it will pass easily, I think it could pass by consent,” she said.
It is anticipated that the bill could cost about $2.5 million dollars a year if all residents participate. If 1000 residents use the new program, expected costs are about $685,000 per year.
The bill was deferred in Tuesday’s Council Meeting to allow sponsors additional time to meet with city administration, the city attorney, and the finance department to determine exactly what the cost to the city would be.
If the bill is passed, it will go into effect immediately.
About the Author: Jason Vaughn, Media Coordinator for The Tennessee Conservative ~ Jason previously worked for a legacy publishing company based in Crossville, TN in a variety of roles through his career. Most recently, he served as Deputy Director for their flagship publication. Prior, he was a freelance journalist writing articles that appeared in the Herald Citizen, the Crossville Chronicle and The Oracle among others. He graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a Bachelor’s in English-Journalism, with minors in Broadcast Journalism and History. Contact Jason at news@TennesseeConservativeNews.com