North Carolina Women Are Watching and Winning!
There have been so many instances of out of touch politicians making bad decisions about birth control funding, it’s hard to keep track. Here’s one story of where the pushback from the community made a difference.
In Wilmington, North Carolina, a funding request to use state bonus money to purchase contraceptives turned into a month-long debate about the importance of affordable birth control.
The health department wanted to allocate the nearly $9,000 of state funding to purchase IUDs — a long-acting form of birth control. But five New Hanover County Commissioners unanimously voted to turn down the money in March because they argued taxpayers shouldn’t foot the bill for women who were “irresponsible” with other family planning methods.
Folks in Wilmington spent the last month protesting and pressuring the commissioners to reverse their decision, because it makes no sense to deny funding for women who are trying to be responsible with their health.
Before the evening’s vote, nearly 100 people gathered on the steps of the Wilmington courthouse to rally and protest the commissioners’ earlier decision. Supporters of all ages showed up and proved to the local commissioners that women in North Carolina were willing to stand up and speak out for what they believed was right. .
During the hearing, health care provider Brandie Stork spoke up for women everywhere and asked these leaders to reconsider their earlier vote and put women’s health ahead of politics: "The previous decision to reject this funding shows the members of this Board of Commissioners are seriously out of touch with the needs of New Hanover County voters," she said to a standing ovation.
Commission Chairman Ted Davis, who, in an earlier meeting about the funding had previously said there would be no issue “if these young women were responsible people and didn’t have sex to begin with” realized the error in his ways. “I now realize that a woman is being responsible when she seeks contraception from the health department,” said Davis.
After receiving a “flood of emails and calls” about the original decision to deny the funds, Davis and two of his fellow commissioners felt the need to reconsider their previous vote and hear from officials in the health community about the importance of affordable birth control.
At the end of the day, it was the hard work and activism of the individuals who stood up and spoke out to protect women’s health that helped influence the commissioners. In North Carolina, women are watching.