NHCo. to Vote Again on Family Planning Grant

Mar 30, 2012

On Monday the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners will once again vote on an almost $9,000 state family planning grant it unanimously rejected last month. 

WHQR’s Sara Wood reports the board declined funds the health department intended to use to purchase long-term contraceptives known as intrauterine devices or IUDs. The issue sparked a local protest and ended up back on this evening’s agenda

At the last meeting the funding was brought up as a budget amendment and rejected after six minutes. Carla Turner with the county health department says her department was not asked to present at the meeting.

“And had we known there was going to be discussion at the county commissioner’s meeting then we would have been prepared. We did not know it had been taken off the consent agenda.”

Turner says the presentation that did take place was before the last commissioners’ meeting, when the proposal was put before the Board of Health. The board voted 8-1 to pass the use of the grant to purchase IUD supplies. The one dissenting vote was Commissioner Rick Catlin. Turner says she didn’t field many questions at this presentation.

“The question was asked why did we want to use it for the long-acting reversible contraceptives, and the response I gave was that sometimes our clients aren’t as responsible as we’d like them to be with taking a pill everyday and this is a more reliable way to provide them with birth control. In hindsight I realized that maybe I should have given more information.”

When asked about tonight’s vote Commissioner Catlin offered the comment, “Hopefully we’ll get better information this time. Proper information is important for us to make our decisions.”

Turner says in addition to providing women a contraceptive they don’t have to take every day, non-hormonal IUDs are an option for women who can’t take birth control pills for various health reasons, like high blood pressure, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. 

The health department will give a 10-minute presentation at Monday’s board of commissioners’ meeting. Following the presentation, the public will be able to comment with a time limit of 15 minutes per side. If the commission rejects the grant, the health department has another month to decide on other ways it could use the funds. The meeting takes place Monday at 6 PM at the New Hanover County Historic Courthouse in downtown Wilmington.