So You Want An Abortion In Chapel Hill

The following guest post by Alice Wilder is cross-posted with permission from the author.  The original post appeared on

Crisis Pregnancy Centers — not known for their subtlety.

Crisis Pregnancy Centers — not known for their subtlety.

If you’re looking to access abortion care in North Carolina, there will be many people hoping to get in your way.

Yes, there are the folks in the North Carolina General Assembly, passing bills like SB 353. If the Department of Health and Human Services keeps all of the restrictions in SB 353, then there would be just one abortion clinic in the state.

But behind these highly publicized anti-abortion efforts is something a little more covert: Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs). Crisis Pregnancy Centers are ideologically based clinics that are dishonest to patients. According to a 2011 study by NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina Foundation (NPCNCF), 92 percent do not have medical professionals on staff.

There are reports from abortion rights organizations that condemn CPCs, and I wanted to test their data with a real call to a CPC’s crisis hotline.

I called telling the counselor that I had pregnancy symptoms but hadn’t taken a test. I said that I was leaning towards abortion because I wanted to stay in school. During our 20-minute phone call she took me in detail through parenting and “giving the child the gift of adoption.” She avoided the topic of abortion, and when I brought up she would only add that it wasn’t the only option. Her voice was gentle and calm as she pushed me away from abortion. At times it felt more like a debate than pregnancy counseling. Still, I couldn’t help but think that if I really was pregnant and panicking she’d seem trustworthy.

The bottom line is that there are groups of people coordinating to mislead Carolina students about their pregnancy options. In NARAL’s investigation of North Carolina CPCs investigators found that volunteers told patients that abortion leads to “post-abortion stress” and breast cancer — claims that have no basis in real science. They advertise in the materials that are given to all first-years. They’re targeting panicked college students who deserve nothing but complete honesty.

If you’re in Chapel Hill and thinking about abortion, call the Chapel Hill Health Center at 919.942.7762, or click here. The full NARAL Pro-Choice NC Foundation Investigation can be read online.

And just to make sure you don’t accidentally end up at a CPC, here’s a handy list of local CPC’s as listed by LifeCall, an anti-abortion website. Thanks, LifeCall!

Pregnancy Support Services
Chapel Hill, NC

Pregnancy Support Services
Durham, NC

Raleigh, NC

Catholic Social Ministries
Raleigh, NC

Bethany Christian Services
Raleigh, NC

LifeCare Pregnancy Center


Alice Wilder is a first-year at UNC-Chapel Hill from Charlotte, N.C. She has had her work published by the Spark blog and most recently wrote a thank-you note to Gov. Pat McCrory on Huffpost College. 

North Carolina’s Eugenic Past

By Claire, Communications Intern

Way back when we started this blog we had a post about the now defunct sterilization program in North Carolina.  A formal apology was issued in 2002, but until now talk of compensation for the victims of the program had been stalled.  Governor Perdue has stated she is determined to fix that problem while she is in office.  She set up the NC Justice for Sterilization Victims Foundation under the Department of Administration in order to “provide information and assistance to affected individuals.”  Currently the Governor’s Task Force is assessing the best method for compensation.

North Carolina operated its eugenics board and sterilization program from 1929 to 1974.  Thirty-one other states had eugenics programs during this time as well.  The goal of eugenics committees was to identify “degenerate elements” in American society and prevent them from reproducing and passing their “degenerate genetics” onto the next generation.  They were concerned with actual inheritable traits like epilepsy, and traits they assumed to be inheritable like alcoholism, promiscuity and “feeble-mindedness.”  In North Carolina the population viewed by the board to be degenerate was overwhelmingly female and disproportionately people of color.  One third of the sterilizations were performed on people under the age of 18.  At least 7, 600 people were sterilized in North Carolina; only around 2,000 are still alive.

Eliane Riddick, who we covered in our first eugenics post, is a perfect example of how terrible and misguided the eugenics movement was.  Riddick was raped by a neighbor when she was 13.  She became pregnant and the eugenics committee saw her as a prime candidate for sterilization.  Underage, black, poor, unwed and pregnant; she was everything they thought needed fixing in North Carolina.   Instead of helping Riddick through her traumatic ordeal, they labeled her “promiscuous” and “feeble-minded.”  She was sterilized without her consent or knowledge right after her son was born.  Her rapist was never brought to justice.  Her story is not uncommon for the tens of thousands of people sterilized in the name of public health over the decades.  More information about her and about North Carolina’s shameful history can be found here.

We have to remember that choice is more than about the right to pregnancy prevention and abortion.  For so many people it is just the opposite.  Everyone deserves to make the best decisions for themselves with all the facts given to them in a medically accurate, unbiased way.   Forcing someone to be sterilized is just as bad as forcing them to be pregnant.

WE ALWAYS RESIST: TRUST BLACK WOMEN Black Women and Reproductive Freedom

*This article is cross-posted from Country Fried Choice—the Planned Parenthood Health Services blog

In 2010 and 2011, anti-choice organizations erected billboards in major cities throughout the country. The billboards displayed the doleful faces of young black children and included the shocking statements “Black Children are an Endangered Species,” and “The Most Dangerous Place for an African American is in the Womb.” The anti-choice organizations responsible for the billboards, Radiance Foundation and Life Always, stated that they intended to raise more of the displays throughout the country to highlight what they (wrongfully) categorized as “the targeting of black communities by abortion providers.”

This radical move by anti-choice organizations showed their willingness to disparage the integrity of black women as part of a sensationalized campaign of misinformation about abortion services and women’s reproductive freedoms. The subliminal messages behind these billboards assume the worst about black women: either they are too feeble-minded to make their own choices regarding pregnancy, or they selfishly and imprudently seek abortions. It doesn’t take much to recognize the dubious nature of these emotional appeals. Rather than representing genuine concern for black communities, these billboards use race (and gender)-baiting to obscure the real issues behind abortion rates among black women—issues like unintended pregnancies, poverty, employment prospects, healthcare coverage, education and other socioeconomic factors.


The billboard as it appeared in Soho, NY, February 2011

This summer SisterSong and the newly formed Trust Black Women Partnership released the film, We Always Resist: Trust Black Women, as part of  “a long-term response” to the anti-choice movement’s racist attacks upon black women, and the movement’s use of these attacks to further an anti-woman’s rights and anti-women’s health agenda. The 24-minute film provides an informative history of the struggle for reproductive choice within African American communities and argues that black women have always considered reproductive choice a fundamental part of how they defined liberation for themselves and their communities.

Reactionary elements in the U.S.—most recently led by the religious right—have a long history of maligning black womanhood not only in an effort to affect public policy, but also in an attempt to drive a wedge in black communities on social issues. Social conservatives have often sought political gain from convincing blacks to view women’s reproductive freedoms as antithetical to the overall well being of the race. In the film, Loretta Ross, National Coordinator for SisterSong, notes that anti-choice efforts to manipulate public policy often place black women in a catch-22 when it comes to reproductive choice. On one hand, black women who choose to have abortions are accused of collaborating in racial genocide; while on the other hand, black women who choose to birth and rear their children run the risk of being stereotyped as irresponsible, promiscuous “welfare queens” who place too much of a burden on the system.

The film offers unsettling statistics on the impact of illegal abortions on African American communities. Prior to Roe, black women were thirteen times more likely to die from illegal abortion procedures. In New York City, black and Latina women accounted for 80 percent of the illegal abortions performed, and therefore were the majority of the women maimed or killed by such illegal procedures. Civil rights organizations, such as the black club women’s movement and the NAACP, supported safe access to birth control and abortion because of the physical risk to black women lives and the belief that greater control of reproduction could help lift black communities out of poverty. 

Loretta Ross, Founder and National Coordinator of SisterSong. SisterSong uses the framework of Human Rights to situate abortion in the health, social and economic contexts of women’s lives.

SisterSong formed the Trust Black Women (TBW) partnership—a coalition of several reproductive justice organizations—in 2010 in response to the billboard campaigns. As part of their community awareness efforts, TBW has also investigated the sources of funding and connections of the anti-choice organizations behind the billboard campaigns. The findings have been revelatory.  Viewers of the film will learn about the collusion between the Georgia Republican Party and Georgia Right Life to create the black anti-choice billboard campaign. Viewers will also be introduced to Life Dynamics, the organization responsible for producing the anti-choice film Maafa 21. The film, which is shown frequently at historically black colleges and universities, suggests that abortion is part of a campaign to exterminate African Americans.

We Always Resist also includes a nice takedown of anti-choice activist Alveda King, niece of Martin Luther King, Jr. and permanent fixture at national anti-choice rallies. King, a woman who had two abortions, now works tirelessly to deny the right to choose to other women. Despite her efforts, Atlanta-based reproductive rights activists close to the King family assert that Alveda does not operate under the authority of the King family, nor does she carry the mantle of her celebrated uncle, who himself was a supporter of family planning services.

Ross correctly points out that the billboard campaigns and anti-abortion legislation expose the lack of perspective within the anti-choice movement about what it takes to have a child. SisterSong and TBW are committed to shifting the conversation to a comprehensive view of reproductive justice and health—a commitment that includes to access to pre-natal care, adequate nutrition, housing, healthcare, and living wages for families.

We Always Resist is necessary viewing for everyone committed to the fight for women’s reproductive rights.  The film is both powerful and informative; and it is a great educational tool for anyone who wants to expand your knowledge on the ways that the reproductive rights movement affects African American women.

To request a copy of the film or to learn more about the work of SisterSong and the Trust Black Women Partnership in the Charlotte area please contact Deann Butler, Field Coordinator for NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina at  In July 2011, Deann attended SisterSong’s National Conference in Miami, FL. Read about her experience at the conference here.

Compiled and Written by Renee Chandler, Public Policy Intern and Co-Chair of Planned Parenthood Young Advocates of Charlotte.

Thank you to Deann Butler for assistance in preparing this piece.

For More Information:

Loretta Ross “Fighting Black Anti-Choice Campaigns: Trust Black Women”

Susan A. Cohen “Abortion and Women of Color: The Bigger Picture” Guttmacher Policy Review Summer 2008, Volume 11, Number 3

Dorothy Roberts Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction and the Meaning of Liberty (Vintage Books, 1997)

Linda Greenhouse and Reva B. Siegel, Before Roe: Voices that Shaped the Abortion Debate Before the Supreme Courts Ruling (Kaplan Publishing, 2010)

Response to Racist Billboards in Missouri

By Claire, Communications Intern

Excerpt from commentary by Tishaura O. Jones, Assistant Minority Floor Leader and Representative of District 63 in St. Louis, proud mother, and supporter and client of Planned Parenthood.  In regard to anti-choice billboards targeting low-income black communities with anti-abortion and anti-Planned Parenthood messages.

Representative Jones says her mother told her to go to Planned Parenthood because it was a place she could trust, a place that would care for her.  Representative Jones credits Planned Parenthood for saving her life.  Without the pap smear she had there, she would have never known she had pre-cancerous cell growth on her cervix, which could have become cancer, which could have killed her. 

She also has some choice questions and opinions about the people who claim to care enough about black babies to enact billboards in low-income communities of color.

If you care about black babies, why do they make up 25 percent of the more than 10,000 children in the foster care system, according to the Missouri Department of Social Services?

If you care about black babies, why are urban school districts crumbling?

If you care about black babies, why is Missouri No. 1 in crimes committed against black men?

I was insulted, to say the least, when Missouri Right to Life had the gall to put up billboards in black neighborhoods with offensive and blatantly racist messages.

The wholly unsubstantiated claim made on these billboards is that black women kill their babies, perpetuating the racist stereotype of black women as unfit mothers.

Regardless of where one stands on the issue of abortion, I believe that the overwhelming number of Americans would agree that this type of reprehensible rhetoric crosses a line that should not be crossed and has no place in the debate.

Read the rest of her defense of family planning services and her take down of the racist hypocrisy of these billboard campaigns here.