NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - A controversial decision by New Hanover County leaders not to accept a grant that would help pay for women's contraception caused some commissioners to dodge on-camera interviews on Tuesday night.
Commissioners voted not to take a $9,000 state grant to help pay for family planning at the Health Department.
Health officials said it would go toward providing IUD's for women, a form of birth control.
Tuesday night, four out of five commissioners attended an event held by the Wilmington Contractors Association. Commissioners Jonathan Barfield and Jason Thompson discussed the controversy on camera with WECT's Ashlea Kosikowski. Two of the men refused to talk on camera, including Commissioners Ted Davis and Rick Catlin.
Commissioner Catlin, who sits on the Board of Health, said he was "off duty" and had "no comment".
Commissioner Davis, refused to talk on camera, but reiterated that he doesn't "support giving IUDs to women who weren't responsible enough to take the pill."
He said if the issue comes up again, he'd be "willing to listen."
And it is possible this issue will go in front of the board again.
Health Services Manager Carla Turner explained the Health Department needs to propose a new use for the money and go through the process again.
Commissioner Jonathan Barfield also said he plans to go to the county attorney to see if the board can reconsider the issue.
After talking with his wife, he said he would change his vote.
"Although we are in a position to direct funds, I made a choice in directing which options a woman will have by refusing those dollars," he said. "There were free dollars coming to our community. And the reality is we can prevent unwanted pregnancies. "
Commissioner Jason Thompson explained the reason he didn't support the measure is because the IUDs are too costly and providing the birth control pill would help more women.
"It's really an issue of numbers," he said. "We could take $9,000 and provide a service for 3 or 4 people or we could take $9000 and provide an annual service for 100 people. It's a numbers game and you can twist it any way you want to but we have to serve the greatest number of people with the most effective cost we can and the vote reflects that."
Thompson said if this issue comes before the board again, he would vote in favor of accepting the grant if it covered the pill.
Barfield is planning to attend a public protest of the decision Thursday night at 5:30 p.m. at Riverfront Park in Wilmington.
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