Rally is a Great Success!

Yesterday, hundreds of NARAL Pro Choice North Carolina activists joined forces with other pro-choice allies throughout the state (including Planned Parenthood, Lillian’s List, NOW, and others) to fight against recent attacks on women’s reproductive health in our state. We were especially proud of our NC State Campus Representative, Hannah Osborne, who spoke at the rally. As Hannah put it: “Choosing birth control, abstinence, abortion, pregnancy or adoption should be my choice. To say someone else is better fit to make decisions concerning my body and my life undermines my education, insults my intelligence and mocks my citizenship.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves!

These are sad times for anyone hoping to pass progressive pro-choice legislation in North Carolina. The past two years have been the worst in recent memory for women’s health.  This legislative session, the General Assembly has already proposed two radical anti-choice measures (HB 132 and SB 308), each of which, in its own way, chips away at a North Carolina women’s access to safe and legal abortion. But women are watching. Yesterday I met folks who had driven from every corner of our state to stop the war on women. They will not sit quietly by as the legislators in the capital take away their hard-won rights.  They will show up and be counted. As our rally t-shirts proclaimed, “Politicians Make Crappy Doctors,” they do not walk in women’s shoes, and they should not make decisions about women’s reproductive health care.

This has been a good week for those of us who work to promote pro-choice legislation in North Carolina. Our opponents may dominate the general assembly, but our base is strong, powerful, and deeply committed to our cause. Thanks for standing with us on Halifax Mall, and we hope to see you at Women’s Advocacy Day on April 9!

Scroll down and check out the first look of the photos from the Rally, all taken by local photographer (and awesome pro-choice ally) Lillie Elliot. We’ll post more soon:)


GOP introduces the first TRAP law of the Legislative Session

People often ask me how it is that abortion can be banned. They wonder (rightly) how laws can diminish a right guaranteed by a 1973 Supreme Court Case (Roe v. Wade) which made abortion legal in every state in the union. The answer to this question is complex and long-winded, but the short answer is, they can’t ban abortion outright. And they know that, because anti-choice lawmakers and strategists are very smart people. Their strategy is not to ban abortion (not at the outset), the strategy is to chip away at a woman’s right to choose slowly, so that abortion access is extremely limited and weak. Simultaneously, they hope to bring a case to the highest court that might overturn Roe. One of the most successful legal strategies so far has been the introduction of TRAP laws (Targeted Regulation of Abortion care Providers).

Last night, the North Carolina GOP introduced the first TRAP law of this legislative session. TRAP laws have one goal and one goal only, to slowly and deliberately eliminate abortion-care providers, so that it is virtually impossible for women to choose abortion. Here’s our official statement about this particular bill:

Today, Senators Daniel, Randleman and Hunt  introduced S.B. 308, a bill designed to increase the cost and limit the accessibility of abortion in North Carolina.  If this legislation moves forward, North Carolina could join the ranks of states like Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana. “TRAP laws (targeted regulation of abortion providers) like this bill impose unnecessary and burdensome regulations on abortion providers– but not other medical professionals– in a clear attempt to drive doctors out of practice and make abortion care more expensive and difficult to obtain,” stated Suzanne Buckley, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina.

“S.B. 308. subjects health-care providers to different regulations simply because they offer women the full range of reproductive-health-care options.  This bill is discriminatory, and serves only to stigmatize abortion providers and marginalize abortion from the larger picture of women’s health care,” she continued.  “Legal abortion is one of the safest medical procedures in the United States, and excessive regulation of abortion providers is not intended to protect women’s health nor will it have that effect.  The goal and effect of TRAP laws, such as this bill, is simply to reduce an already limited supply of abortion providers by singling them out for medically unnecessary regulation,” said Buckley.

Anti-choice lawmakers like Senator Daniels claim that what’s at stake is women’s safety, but the aim of a TRAP law is always the same: interfering with women’s access to abortion. If politicians are able to pass this bill in the General Assembly, North Carolina women will suffer. This bill, like other TRAP measures, threatens women’s health because it could have the effect of driving abortion providers out of business, making safe abortion more difficult to obtain in North Carolina.  “That’s the goal of this legislation.  This bill is a direct attempt to restrict North Carolina women’s access to reproductive health care services,” said Buckley.

Let me be absolutely clear here: shit just got REAL in the great state of North Carolina. If this law passes, it is going to affect the lives of women you know personally. This is a time for action. Join us next Wednesday (noon at Halifax Mall) in downtown Raleigh to tell Lawmakers to stay out of women’s personal medical decisions. They don’t want in our shoes, they cannot make decisions on our behalf.


Show Up and Be Counted

by Erin Arizzi

Last week, we published an awesome post by NARAL NC volunteer Joey Honeycutt. Joey wrote about her experience at the 2004 March for Women’s Lives, and how it shaped her commitment to pro-choice activism and advocacy. After reading Joey’s post, I couldn’t stop thinking about the significance of the 2004 March, not just for Joey, but for myself, and for all the other young women who happened to be there.


I don’t quite know how I heard about the 2004 March for Women’s Lives. It was before Facebook or Twitter, and long before I had a consistent daily practice of reading the news. But I know that I read about it somewhere, and was determined to find a way to get there.

In the Spring of 2004, I was a freshman at a Catholic University that was far more conservative than I had gleaned from the glossy brochures at accepted students weekend. More conservative than the church I had grown up in, my family, or my high school. During the activities fair in the fall of that year, I had signed up to be part of the campus’s “Feminist United” chapter, but I never received any emails about meeting times or activities. All I had to show for it was a sticker I proudly placed on my desk in the dorm room I shared with a roommate who was not sympathetic to my cause. I tried to find outlets for my political outrage, but mostly I found myself getting into heated debates with pro-lifers over frozen yogurt at the after-hours convenience store attached to the freshman dining hall. I was desperate to find a community of young people who were as enraged about the Bush presidency as I was, and who could help me to get better at articulating my rage in ways that were smart and well-reasoned, because at the time, I was mostly screaming and yelling.

When I read about the 2004 March for Women’s Lives, I decided this was my big chance. My campus was sending a van full of anti-choice students to DC to protest the March (of course), but as far as I could tell, there was no coalition going to actually participate. I was not brave enough to take the trip all by myself– I was not a particularly street savvy 18 year-old– so I sent an email to a pro-choice organization at UPenn, and asked if I could tag along. The leader of the organization sounded pretty horrified that my school wasn’t sending a bus full of students, and she invited me to pile onto the UPenn bus to DC.

On April 25, 2004, I woke up bright and early and boarded the commuter train to Philly, where I followed my mapquest directions to the UPenn office where I was to meet my new friends. They gave me a T-shirt and off we went. I had never been to a political rally before. I had never even been to DC. Needless to say, the experience is a bit of a blur in my memory. What I remember is not the speakers or the musicians or the celebrity guests, but the feeling of walking through the nation’s capital in solidarity with over one million women. In the background of all of those people marching on behalf of women’s rights to healthcare, I remember seeing the national monuments for the first time.

It was an incredibly formative experience. I did not transform into a different person, but I felt for the first time that I was part of something bigger than myself, a movement that stretched beyond my own memory, and my own individual experience as a white kid from the suburbs of NYC.

I don’t think that you can get that feeling from reading articles on your laptop, or from emailing your senator through change.org.  It’s about being there, in the flesh. That’s why it’s so important that we take time out of our hectic schedules to show up when it counts. That’s why I hope you will join me, my friends, NARAL NC, and all of the other members of this coalition effort* at the Not In Her Shoes Rally next Wednesday, March 20 at noon. Politicians don’t walk in women’s shoes, and they shouldn’t be making medical decisions for them, plain and simple.  Join us next week at Halifax Mall in downtown Raleigh to tell lawmakers that we oppose legislative attacks on North Carolina women, and it’s time they start listening to us. Here’s to hoping our collective action helps invigorate a whole new generation of pro-choice feminists:)  

NOTinHERshoes SavetheDate

*ACLU of North Carolina, IPAS, Lillian’s List, NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina, NC NOW, NC Women Matter, North Carolina Women United, Planned Parenthood Health Systems, and Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina

Erin Arizzi is the Communications Intern at NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina. She is a PhD student and teaching fellow in Communication Studies at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has a Masters Degree in Rhetoric from UNC-CH, and a BA in English from Villanova University in Pennsylvania. 

NCGA proposes to teach anti-choice “science” as part of public school health curriculum.

Yup, this is really happening.

Here’s our statement about Senate Bill 132:

On Monday night, anti-choice politicians introduced a shocking new legislative attack on reproductive rights, Senate Bill 132. “This bill calls for changes to our school’s health curriculum that have nothing to do with protecting our children’s health, and everything to do with spreading misinformation and stigmatizing abortion,” said Suzanne Buckley, Executive Director for NARAL Pro-Choice NC.

“SB 132 will force schools to tell all students that women who choose abortion will experience difficulties with pregnancy later in life,” Buckley continued.  The bill amends the NC Healthy Youth Curriculum to require teachers to tell students about so-called link between abortion and pre-term deliveries, despite the reality that trusted physicians and medical 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.  ” This bill is insulting and endangering.  It forces teachers to lie to students.  Young people need facts about their health – not political propaganda,”  said Buckley.

That pretty much says it all. The classroom is no place for political indoctrination. Trust our children with the truth, not unsubstantiated lies.

NC State Students Speak up for Choice Out Loud

There has been a lot of press lately about how young people are apathetic when it comes to choice. The general idea is that young people who have grown up with access to safe and legal abortion have taken their reproductive rights for granted, and have become complacent when it comes to Pro-Choice Activism. In January, The Washington Post reported (based on research from the Pew Research Center) that the majority of Americans under 30 do not know that Roe v. Wade was about abortion. Those statistics are pretty depressing to those of us working for Pro-Choice legislation, especially in states like North Carolina where anti-choice politicians hold a supermajority in the General Assembly.

But there is hope on the horizon! Last wednesday, our amazing Campus Reps at NC State organized a Choice Out Loud event where they asked students to pose for portraits with statements explaining why they identify as Pro-Choice. If our campus interns keep it up, perhaps the next time Pew does a study of young people, they will find them more informed and more actively engaged with issues of reproductive rights.

All photos were taken by NC State Student Charlie Harless. You can see more at NC State’s NARAL NC Facebook Page.

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