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Commissioners react to mounting criticism of voting down contraceptive funding; Barfield: a colossal mistake

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Criticism of the New Hanover County Commission’s vote against accepting a family planning grant has reached the state level, and now the board wants to reconsider.

The request is being put on the next meeting’s agenda. Commissioners say they hope to then be able to make a more informed decision.

Today the ACLU of North Carolina sent a news release criticizing the commissioners’ decision, saying they failed miserably. Commissioners now say they are open to compromise.

“In my opinion we made a colossal mistake,” said Commissioner Jonathan Barfield.

Since commissioners voted Monday against accepting a nearly $9,000 state grant to fund contraceptives for women, the opposition has been loud and clear.

“It was a big mistake the vote that took place,” said Jennifer Rudinger, executive director of the ACLU of North Carolina. “It was very unfortunate. Frankly we called it shameful.”

It seems the message has gotten through to commissioners.

“I’ve heard it clearly. I’m still hearing it in my own house,” Barfield said. “I keep telling my wife, ‘I got it.’ My pastor’s talked with me, my dad’s talked with me and I’ve got it.”

In an email sent Wednesday, chairman Ted Davis requested to have the funding request put on their April 2nd meeting’s agenda along with time for public discussion. Commissioner Rick Catlin, who was very vocal about turning down the money, says he welcomes another chance to talk about it.

“I think it’s incumbent upon us as public officials to hear all the facts and make an informed decision,” Catlin said.

“We hope that they will do the right thing,” Rudinger said. “We hope that they will accept the funding that women need and go forward with this.”

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