NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - New Hanover County Commissioners plan to reconsider a recent vote over birth control funding, which drew criticism from some in the community this week.
Commissioners voted unanimously Monday to not accept a state grant for the New Hanover County Health Department. The money would have gone to IUDs, which are a form of birth control.
Commission Chairman Ted Davis, Jr. asked the county manager to place the funding request back on the agenda for the April 2 meeting, according to to New Hanover County officials.
Davis' email is as follows:
After very serious consideration and conferring with my fellow County Commissioners, I am instructing County Manager Bruce Shell to put the Health Department's request to spend $8,899.00 in State funding for IUD purchases on the regular Agenda for the April 2, 2012 County Commissioner meeting which will begin at 6:00p.m.
The Health Department will be expected to give a thorough presentation and provide all of the pertinent information for the Board to consider this proposal, as well as any alternative method of spending these funds for family planning.
There will be a public comment period that will allow comments on behalf of proponents and opponents with a maximum of 15 minutes for each side, regardless of how many speakers may actually talk for either side.
This procedure will allow each Commissioner to receive adequate information from the Health Department; hear comments from the public; ask questions; discuss among themselves; and make their respective decision after considering all of this input.
Ted Davis, Jr.
New Hanover County Board of Commissioners
In an interview over the phone, Davis said commissioners weren't given "sufficient information from the health department" during the original proposal. He said he is "trying to do the right thing" by reconsidering this issue. Davis said he wants to hear from the public during that meeting and health department officials will be on hand to answer question Commissioners have on the issue.
Still, those who were upset about the board's action are moving forward with plans to demonstrate in downtown Wilmington tomorrow.
Amy Schalg, one of the organizers of the protest, said she isn't just upset about what commissioners did, she's outraged at some of the things were said. She is outraged at comments that labeled some women irresponsible when it came to using the birth control pill.
"What they were labeling as irresponsible behavior was the hallmark of responsible behavior," she said. "Being willing to take responsibility for your actions, being willing to family plan and get IUDs and birth control is responsible action by women and labeling that as irresponsible is deeply problematic and of course, leaves out the other half of the equation. They're having sex with someone and those people are not being held to the same standards as women"
The protest will take place Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at Riverfront Park in Wilmington.
Planned Parenthood and the ACLU were among those who criticized commissioners for the vote.
Commissioner David, along with Commissioner Rick Catlin, refused to speak to WECT Tuesday night when approached for comment.
The health department has indicated it would find a new use for the grant prior to Davis' announcement.
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