ACLU-NC Criticizes New Hanover Commissioners for Rejecting Reproductive Health Grant for Women

ACLU-NC Executive Director Calls Vote by All-Male Board to Reject Funds “Shameful” FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: (212) 549-2666; media@aclu.org RALEIGH – The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina today criticized the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners for voting Monday to reject a state grant that would have funded reproductive health care and family planning services for women. “It is truly shameful that the New Hanover County commissioners refused nearly $9,000 in state funds that could have provided essential reproductive health care services to women through doctors’ visits, medication, and comprehensive family planning,” said Jennifer Rudinger, executive director of the ACLU of North Carolina. “Most American women use contraception at some point in our lives in order to plan responsibly, and for many of us, contraception can also aid with other medical conditions,” Rudinger continued. “Unfortunately, many low-income women and young women do not have reliable access to contraception. The state funds the County rejected could have provided these women with medical care they cannot otherwise afford or access. The state offered this money to the County without any strings attached and without any increased burden on taxpayers. The commissioners’ decision to reject this funding is appalling. “Had the five men on the Board bothered to consult any women or reproductive health experts beforehand, perhaps they would have seen the error of their ways. Indeed, Commissioner Jonathan Barfield told WECT-TV that after talking to his wife about the issue, he realized he was wrong to vote against accepting the funds. It is not the duty of elected officials to judge anyone’s lifestyle or medical needs. Rather, they should seek to better the welfare of the people they were elected to serve. In this case, they failed miserably,” Rudinger concluded.

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