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Durham County commissioner suggests public funding for reproductive health

Campaign Photo
Durham County commissioner Nida Allam ran for the Democratic nomination for the District 4 congressional seat earlier this year.

Durham County commissioner Nida Allam says the county should investigate funding reproductive health services — including abortion — now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned.

She made the comments at the opening of Monday’s board of commissioners meeting. Allam, who has spoken about her own abortion, called the Supreme Court ruling “unfortunate.” Allam spoke publicly about her abortion while running for Democratic nomination for the District 4 congressional seat earlier this year. She lost in that primary to Valerie Foushee.

Allam added the county should provide funding to the Carolina Abortion Fund, a Durham-based non-profit that helps pregnant people with abortion costs.

“Since we’re one of the few states that don't have trigger laws that go into effect to ban abortion, we’re going to become a haven state for individuals across the Southern region to seek these services,” Allam said.

Allam, who also serves on the Durham County Board of Health, suggested other ways the county could help.

“I'm going to be bringing this up at our next (Board of Health) meeting of ways that Durham County Public Health can look into funding for IUDs, birth control implants and pills, and even potentially provide abortion services," she said.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive rights advocacy group, North Carolina restricts public funding of abortion to cases of rape, incest or life endangerment. Further restrictions could be coming if Republicans win a veto-proof majority in the General Assembly in November.

Durham County Commission chair Brenda Howerton said Allam will need to have a conversation with the county health department about her proposal, but Howerton reiterated her support for abortion access.

“We must never stop fighting to defend and uphold the right to choose,” Howerton said. “This is about justice. This is a dire crossroads in our nation’s history.”

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