NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – The state money rejected by New Hanover County Commissioners at their Monday night meeting is not completely lost.
Commissioners denied the Health Department's suggestion of spending $8,899 on intrauterine devices, but the money can be used for other aspects of family planning, including clinic services and outreach. The Health Department simply needs to propose a new use for the money and go through the process again.
Health Services Manager Carla Turner explained that the state recommended IUDs because they are a costly option for women who want to use contraception other than the birth control pill.
"There are some women that it makes them sick," said Turner, "or they have pre-existing medical conditions that birth control could potentially exacerbate."
Family planning is open to anyone, male or female, in the county. Turner said everyone is welcome, but it's not a simple walk-in, walk-out procedure. There is a comprehensive head-to-toe examination that accounts for a person's entire reproductive health.
New Hanover County has spent $523,960 on family planning so far this fiscal year. Approximately $113,800 of that money covers operation expenses, which is mostly supplies. Those supplies include contraception like birth control and condoms.
Before the commissioners shot down the resolution, the county's Board of Health approved it by a vote of 6-1. Recently appointed board member and county commissioner Rick Catlin was the dissenting vote.
Catlin informed his fellow commissioners Monday night that the grant money would be used for women who were not responsible with other forms of contraception. Chairman Ted Davis added that tax payers should not have to pay for irresponsibility.
A presentation to the Board of Health described women who forget to take their birth control as irresponsible, according to Chairman Michael Goins, OP. Goins said that irresponsible wasn't the best adjective used, nor was it the only one. By then, the idea of irresponsibility became an issue, according Goins.
Goins expects to vote on a new use for the money at the BOH's next meeting. After that, it will return to the county commissioners. The money needs to be spent by May 31 for the state to reimburse the county.
County Commissioner Jonathan Barfield already expressed his regret for denying the money, saying he would vote differently if given the chance.
Commissioner Jason Thompson said he voted against the resolution because the money would benefit more women if used for something other than IUDs. Thompson said $9,000 could buy birth control pills for hundreds of women, compared to IUDs for a couple of them.
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