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Commissioners vote down family planning grant, Barfield regrets decision

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Providing contraception for women has been a national topic for months, and now it has sparked debate in New Hanover County.

Commissioners unanimously voted down a state grant that would fund contraceptive supplies and services in the county. Just like the national story, providing contraceptive healthcare to women is anything but one-sided, But commissioners all seemed to have the same mindset.

“I have a fundamental philosophical issue with using tax pay dollars to fund someone’s irresponsibility,” said Commissioner Rick Catlin, who also serves on the county’s health board.

“If these young women are being responsible and didn’t have the sex to begin with, we wouldn’t have this problem to begin with, but unfortunately that’s the problem that we have,” said Commission Chairman Ted Davis.

All five commissioners voted to turn down a nearly $9,000 state grant to help fund contraceptive supplies and medical services related to family planning. The decision did not sit well with some.

“I think it’s outrageous that an all male panel have declared women who are taking responsibility for their basic health care, which includes contraception, that that would be irresponsible,” said Melissa Reed, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood.

“They should be trying to legislate to protect women’s health rather than trying to legislate morality,” said Han Hills, a pro-choice advocate and president of Humanists and Free Thinkers of Cape Fear. “That’s not what they’re there for.”

After thinking it through, one commissioner says he regrets his vote.

“I’m one of those abstinence guys, so I agree with those comments,” said Commissioner Jonathan Barfield during Monday’s meeting.

Barfield says he realized his mistake after talking with his wife.

“Her first question was ‘what were you thinking?’ and we started walking through and talking about this discussion,” Barfield said. “She brought up some very valid points that if someone is seeking contraception, it shows that they are being responsible.”

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