A Pattern of Restricting Choice: Why Governor McCrory Must Veto HB 318

Brittney Satterfield, NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina Organizing Intern and North Carolina Central University Senior

Have you heard of House Bill 318? House Bill 318, or HB 318, is a direct attack on North Carolinians most in need. HB 318 is legislation that permanently terminates government food assistance (also known as supplemental food assistance program or SNAP) for childless adults who are unemployed for 3 months or are in training for fewer than 20 hours per week. In North Carolina, 1,575,676 people participate in SNAP per month on average, making this bill incredibly harmful for millions of people across our state.

Reproductive justice not only asserts that people must have the right to decide when and if they want to become parents, but also that all people must have the economic resources to make healthy decisions about their bodies and their lives. If people do not have the financial means to access healthy and nutritional food, they will be unable to make those decisions. While 1.5 million North Carolinians receive SNAP, it’s estimated that hundreds of thousands of people will be impacted by this legislation, representing an attack on some of North Carolina’s most vulnerable residents. As reproductive justice advocates, we must understand how this bill will exacerbate the already dire economic circumstances facing many communities in our state.

Vetoing HB 318 seems like the obvious thing to do. Unfortunately, Governor Pat McCrory has a pattern of supporting legislation that harms low-income people in our state. Once elected as governor, he failed to expand Medicaid, effectively denying low-income people access to healthcare in North Carolina. Failure to expand-POP Medicaid left 500,00 North Carolinians without coverage.

Most recently Governor McCrory passed House Bill 465 (HB 465), a bill that will disproportionately harm low-income people across our state. HB 465 tripled the waiting period for abortion services from 24 hours to 72 hours, effectively making North Carolina’s waiting period one of the most extreme in the entire country. HB 465 is detrimental to North Carolinians who may live in rural areas or who do not have the financial resources to be able to take numerous days off of work or pay for childcare as may be required by this medically unnecessary waiting period. By signing this bill, Governor McCrory broke his promise yet again to not sign any further abortion restrictions into law.

Governor McCrory, citizens within North Carolina deserve equity and assistance. Approving bills that ban, bar, or deny sustainability of nutritional value only denies people’s ability to be healthy and thriving North Carolina citizens. As the Governor of the state of North Carolina, you are held accountable for the health and well-being of all people in this state, and HB 318 will serve only to harm some of our most vulnerable residents.

HB 318 is unjust and hinders individuals within our state that need this program the most. Governor McCrory, we call on you to veto HB 318.

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