History of Family Planning in Georgia
Family planning services have been available in Georgia since the mid-1930s when county health departments began purchasing contraceptive supplies for distribution.
In 1966, the Georgia General Assembly passed the Family Planning Services Act mandating that the Division of Public Health and Family and Children's Services work together to provide contraceptive services for any woman in Georgia who requested these services. Twenty thousand dollars was appropriated that year for the purchase of contraceptive supplies for statewide distribution. No funds were appropriated for equipment or personnel to provide these additional services in public health departments. Counties operated their own family planning programs with state assistance in purchasing supplies and training personnel. The quantity and quality of family planning services varied from county to county.
In 1971, federal matching funds became available through Titles V and IV-A of the U.S. Public Health Services (PHS) Act. With an operating budget of $420,000, the state program changed dramatically in organizational structure and service delivery. District staff were hired in 1972 and 1973. Family planning services increased in scope and availability. In addition to personnel training, state program staff assumed more responsibility for administrative policy and procedures.
The funding allocation for family planning services was changed to Title X of the U.S. Public Health Services Act in 1973. Specific guidelines for family planning projects were developed. Funds were allocated for staff, operating costs, and training. In addition, a minimum ten percent match of state funds was required for all state family planning projects. Legislation passed in 1988 by the Georgia General Assembly gives public health nurses the authority to order and dispense selected medications, including oral contraceptives, based upon physician and pharmacy protocols. Georgia has a unique training program which prepares public health nurses to function in this expanded role. These specially trained public health nurses and certified nurse practitioners are the primary providers of family planning services. Family planning services are available in all of Georgia's 159 counties.