Eight public health nurses have quit over the distribution of emergency contraceptives, also called "morning-after pills." Five more nurses have requested reassignments to position that would not involved the state emergency contraceptive program.
State health department officials say they had to begin offering the morning-after pill in order to continue receiving federal Title Ten money for the department's family planning program.
Doctor Tom Miller says they tried implementing the program on a county-by-county basis, based on where staff members were comfortable with distributing the pills. Though the department let some clinics opt out of the program, health officials were later told doing so was improper.
Officials say they hope the program will prevent about 4,000 abortions in the state and 13,000 unintended pregnancies.
The pill, described as a massive dose of normal birth control pills, is available to all female patients, including teenagers 14 and older without parental consent. That is the standard department birth control policy.