Senate Budget to Increase Funding for so-called Crisis Pregnancy Centers


CONTACT: Suzanne Buckley, 919-972-eight486

Raleigh, NC — Months after launching their summer “sneak attack” on women’s reproductive rights, the Senate leadership is poised to pass a budget that would funnel an additional $50,000 to anti-choice “crisis pregnancy centers.” The Senate budget carves out $300,000 from the Maternal & Child Health Block Grant to fund the Carolina Pregnancy Care Fellowship, an explicitly anti-choice organization that sustains more than half of North Carolina’s so-called crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs).  CPCs frequently manipulate and deceive women, often using propaganda to dissuade women from considering comprehensive birth-control options or legal abortion.

“Senator Berger’s priorities couldn’t be more out of touch.  Instead of increasing access to health care by expanding Medicaid and creating jobs for working families, Berger and the extreme majority are funneling 300,000 taxpayer dollars to groups that block women from making fully informed decisions about their own reproductive health,” said Suzanne Buckley, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina. “Regardless of how a person feels about legal abortion, we call all can agree that no one should ever be misled when seeking medical care and information,” she said.

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Crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) are facilities that often pose as comprehensive health-care centers, but use manipulation and medically inaccurate information to block women from considering abortion—or even birth control—as an option.  NARAL Pro-Choice NC Foundation’s investigation of CPCs in North Carolina in 2011 investigation revealed that of the 60 member organizations of Carolina Pregnancy Care Fellowship:
  • 94 percent had no medical professionals on their staff.
  • 46 percent promoted abstinence over contraception as the preferred method of prevention
  • 26 percent engaged in deceptive advertising in phonebooks, websites, and college publications.
  • More than half claimed that abortion usually results in so-called “post-abortion stress.”

NARAL Pro-Choice NC will continue to advocate for policies that promote comprehensive, unbiased and non-directive reproductive-health information and work to end the deceptive tactics of CPCs who attempt to block women from making fully informed choices about their reproductive options. 

Legislative Lowdown: The Latest on Anti-Choice Legislation at the NCGA


This week, lawmakers in the General Assembly have pulled out all of the stops to try and damage the reproductive rights of women and teenagers in our state. Below you’ll find recap of four of the bills we’ve been working hard to defeat.

SB 132 passed committee Wednesday and was up for a vote in the Senate Thursday, it passed second reading, will likely have it’s final senate vote on Monday night:  SB 132 was the first anti-choice bill proposed by the NCGA this session. I wrote about it way back when here. This is a bill that would amend the Healthy Youth Act to require that young people be taught anti-choice propaganda in schools. Specifically, the bill would require that children be taught that abortion could lead to pre-term birth in subsequent pregnancies. This, in spite the fact that experts from the Center for Disease Control, The World Health Organization, and the American Medical Association have found no correlation between abortion care and pre-term deliveries. The original bill has been amended to reflect objections made by some of the Democratic Senators present. You can read about it here, but the main thing is that the bill will now require sex education curriculum to include abortion, among other potential “causes” of pre-term birth. This, in spite of the fact that no scientific study has established causation between abortion and pre-term birth later in life. To be clear, the amendment does nothing to change our opinion of this bill.

HB 693 was up for a vote in the House on Wednesday but was pulled from the calendar and referred back to the Judiciary Committee: I wrote on this blog Tuesday about HB 693, the parental consent bill. On Tuesday, that bill passed the Health and Human Services committee along party lines, 14 to 8. Not only did the bill pass, but in committee, it was amended, and it is now even more extreme. Now, the bill requires notarized written parental consent in order for a teen to seek out abortion care, or prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of STD/STIs, mental health, pregnancy, or substance abuse. It seems like a teenager might need to show up every month with notarized parental consent to refill her birth control. We know this is bad for our state. The research is very clear on this issue. And the extremists in the NCGA know that we know this too, that’s why they are rushing this bill through. According to APPCNC, teen pregnancy in North Carolina is at an all-time low, and between 2010 to 2011, teen pregnancy declined 12%. This decrease is attributed to increased use of contraception. This bill received a lot of backlash this week, which is a great sign, but we will  continue to work with our partners to raise the alarm about this bad bill.

HB 716 passed the house in a 79-40 vote on Tuesday. I’ve written here about 716 before, and there have been a couple of other stories that get at what is awful about this bill. The gist of it is this: Sex Selection bans like HB 716 claim to be about gender discrimination, but in fact, do nothing to alter the material realities of gender inequality. Moreover, HB 716 and other bills like it, erode doctor patient confidentiality, and take away a woman’s right to make her own personal health care decisions, without the threat of judgment or suspicion. The bill will be assigned to a Senate committee in the coming weeks.

HB 730 will be heard in the House Judiciary Committee at 10am next Wednesday. This news broke last night, just as it seemed we might be making some progress on HB 693. Drat! HB 730 is a Health Care refusal bill. It would vastly expand who can refuse to provide reproductive health care services and who qualifies as a “religious employer” for the purpose of refusing to cover health care services and benefits. In short, this is a bill that would allow your boss to decide s/he isn’t covering any birth control through your insurance plan. You can read the full text of bill here.

Stay tuned! Crossover is next Thursday. If a bill hasn’t passed in either the House or the Senate by Crossover (this year, May 16), it is effectively “dead” for the remainder of the session. You can bet the conservative majority doesn’t want any of the bills mentioned above to simply “die.” So they will act fast, and we will try our darndest to act faster 🙂

NC proves that M.D. is actually spelled R-E-P.

by Suba Narasimhan

So I made the mistake of actually sleeping eight hours last night.  I say it was a mistake because I wasn’t hyper-vigilant, and overnight the fine people at the North Carolina General Assembly approved another straightjacket of a bill, and tonight, it will reach the House Floor for a vote.

House Bill 693 (a.k.a. the WTF Are They Thinking Bill) is receiving much less coverage than the Sex-Selective Abortion Ban.  However, if it passes, it will amend the state’s current parental consent law extending restrictions to other services beyond abortion and have far-reaching implications on how doctors interact with their teenage patients.

This bill keeps minors from accessing services lawmakers see as potentially inappropriate.  HB 693 requires written and NOTARIZED (when was the last time any of us notarized anything?) permission for teens to access birth control, but also for sexually transmitted disease and HIV screening, mental health services, and substance abuse counseling, and prenatal care.

As a long-time resident and fervent lover of NC, I am livid over the Legislature’s attempts to curtail all forms of public health and frustrated by our State media’s lack of coverage about it.  Craig Jarvis at the N&O wrote a very short article on HB693 but it was trumped by adorable baby lemurs.  Dammit, we have priorities!  However, HuffPost and ThinkProgress picked up the slack.

I could fume about a million huge issues but let’s stick to two:

1) Not all minors live in environments that are safe where they can confide in adults: We cannot make legislation based on ideal families with ideal communication.

2) Stigmatizing minors who reach out for medical help and assuming they are engaging in risky behaviors is dangerous: We can’t blame teens when they do the right thing and access medical help.

This bill will change medical practice across NC.  More importantly, it keeps an already underserved population from accessing early intervention health services just because they either can’t or won’t confide in a parent or guardian. This is downright dangerous and goes against the tenets of public health and medicine.  It seems that REP Whitman seeks to remove the vital role of the physician to bridge the gaps in communication between patient and parent.  Yet again, NC proves that M.D. is actually spelled R-E-P.

Cheers NC!  Here’s to turning back time to 1960 – but at least it’s a good day to be a notary.

Suba Narasimhan was born in Michigan but raised in Eastern NC.  In 2010, she received her MPH in Maternal and Child Health from UNC.  She is a Family Planning Researcher who loves loves baby lemurs, reproductive justice, and a good strong cocktail.  She can be reached at 

HB 693 goes to committee today.

Hey Y’All,

This is a big week for Reproductive Health in our state. With crossover a little over a week away, the extremests in the General Assembly decided to move another anti-abortion bill to committee.

Today, the House Committee on Health and Human Services is considering HB 693, a bill that would require that teens under 18 require obtain written consent from a parent or guardian before seeking health care services for the “prevention, diagnosis, or treatment” of: STIs/STDs; substance abuse; mental health counsel; and pregnancy. This means that teenagers will need to get the written consent of a parent before even talking with their doctor about how to prevent sexually transmitted diseases or pregnancy. Later today, the House will likely vote on HB716. In spite of strong opposition to that bill, the extreme anti-woman majority, led by Rep. Ruth Samuelson, has been working overtime to make sure it passes.

HB 716 has gotten a lot of press over the past couple of weeks, but you may not know much about HB 693. While HB 716 is couched in a purported concern for gender discrimination, HB 693 makes no claims to be about anything other than what it is: a bill designed to prevent teenagers from having independent access to health care.

HB 693 prevents teens from seeking services for not merely “treatment,” but diagnosis and prevention. Written parental consent is already required for teenagers seeking abortion care in our state (that legislation was enacted in 1995). This bill amends that older law to require teens have parental consent not only for abortion care services, but for seeking out information about how to prevent STIs and STDs, as well as information about substance abuse, emotional disturbance, and pregnancy. In order to have access to information about any of these potential health issues, a teenager must provide written consent from a parent or guardian.

We can all agree that in the best possible scenario, teenagers would want to involve their parents in their health care treatment. But the reality is, many teenagers do not feel comfortable talking to their parents about the kind of issues that this bill names. Even in the best parent-child relationships, it’s hard for families to communicate about sex. In families where relationships between parents and teenagers are affected by difficult issues like abuse or mental illness, communication about sex may be impossible. But the difficulty of these conversations will not prevent teenagers from engaging in sexual activity or substance abuse. This bill would merely make it less likely for teens to seek information about how to prevent pregnancy and STI/STD transmission.

In a recent poll, APPCNC (The Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Campaign of North Carolina) found that 77% of parents agreed with the statement: “I want my teen to abstain from sex, but I also think he or she needs information on birth control.” North Carolina parents agree that teenagers deserve the right to information about their health. They deserve the right to make informed decisions. Public Health professionals agree, that’s why the American Public Health Association, the Society for Adolescent Medicine, the American Medical Women’s Association, the American College of Physicians, and the American Psychological Association all oppose parental involvement laws like HB 693.

The U.S. continues to have one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the developed world. Among American teenagers, rates of Gonorrea and Chlamydia are much higher than in other western countries. The Guttmacher Institute has done a lot of research on parental involvement laws, and has found that 

Proponents of laws and policies designed to require parents to be involved in their adolescent’s decisions to seek reproductive health care argue that in addition to restoring “parental rights,” such requirements will further parent-child communication while dissuading minors from engaging in sexual activity; however, research spanning almost three decades fails to confirm these claims. There is no research that supports the notion that mandatory parental involvement requirements for either contraceptive services or abortion improve parent-child communication or facilitate conversations about sex, birth control or related matters. To the contrary, the research suggests that these policies are potentially harmful to teenagers’ health and well-being, and highlights the importance of confidentiality to teenagers’ willingness to seek care.

HB 693 would seriously damage the health of the teenagers living in our state. Parental involvement bills will not prevent teens from engaging in sexual activity or substance abuse.

We know that when teenagers have access to information about their health care, they make better choices. Why should North Carolina teens have fewer rights than teens in other states?

We hope you agree that this bill should never make it to the House floor for a vote. And if so, we hope you’ll tell the Governor.