Special Delivery: Broken Cookies for Broken Promises

On Thursday, July 24, NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina activists delivered broken cookies to the Governor’s Mansion to mark the up-coming one-year anniversary of Governor McCrory’s broken promise not to support restrictions on access to abortion care.  Last July, Governor McCrory signed into law Senate Bill 353, a series of restrictions on reproductive health care.  The next day, the governor delivered cookies to NARAL Pro-Choice NC and other reproductive rights advocates protesting his broken promise outside the Governor’s Mansion. “Governor McCrory broke his promise to North Carolina voters when he signed Senate Bill 353 into law last year, and today we are delivering broken cookies to remind him of his broken promise,” said NARAL Pro-Choice NC Executive Director Suzanne Buckley.

Watch our special delivery below:

Do you remember the campaign promise McCrory made to North Carolinians?

On October 24, 2012, candidate Pat McCrory was asked “If you are elected governor, what further restrictions on abortion would you agree to sign?” He responded, “None.” McCrory’s promise was clear. If elected governor, he would not restrict access to abortion care.

Then, on July 30, 2013, Governor McCrory signed the now infamous “Motorcycle Abortion” bill into law breaking that promise.

Close to half of all North Carolinians don’t know that Gov. McCrory broke his promise. We have to fix that and we need your help to do it.  

Will you share this image on Facebook to help us spread the word?

 

 

Engaging Young Voters

by 

Young people can be a difficult audience to reach. NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina Foundation tackled this challenge by partnering with other nonprofits to sponsor a day-long Reproductive Justice Summit targeting youth ages 16-24 for a series of advocacy skill sessions. SCSJ voting rights organizing intern Xan McKnight let a session entitled “Navigating North Carolina Voting Laws,” where she spoke to young voters at a session co-taught by Trenten McNeill and Alyssa Davis of Democracy North Carolina.

Engaging young voters
Xan’s presentation focused on ways that North Carolina’s draconian new voting laws suppress the vote of youth, the elderly, women, communities of color, and other vulnerable populations. Through audience participation, a list of voter impediments was created, followed by a list of existing and proposed solutions. Trenten and Alyssa focused on the nuts and bolts of the new voter suppression law. The final segment was a collaborative discussion of best practices in nonpartisan community organizing to help young people become engaged in elections, help coordinate voter awareness on college campuses, and assist people without photo ID in obtaining free state-issued identification before the new voter ID law goes into effect in 2016.

Speakers from SisterSong, Advocates for Youth, Youth Empowered Solutions (YES!), NARAL Pro-Choice NC Foundation, Equality NC, and Third Space Studio facilitated the summit and over 100 young leaders ages 16-24 came together to participate. They discusses how to create social change in their communities, especially pertaining to issues of Reproductive Justice, which is the intersection of reproductive rights and social justice. Sessions included discussions about identity, youth activism, the impact of personal stories, health care, how to actively listen and open a dialogue with more difficult/resistant audiences, and how to create a plan for the future of reproductive justice in North Carolina. SCSJ supports Reproductive Justice issues and recognizes the important intersectionality between reproductive justice issues and other social justice issues.

 

Suffering Under Liberty and the Reproductive Health Policies of North Carolina

Guest post by Brittney Cobb, Charlotte Dominguez, and Andi DeRoin.  The authors are first-year social work graduate students at North Carolina State University. Along with completing advanced generalist practice education, they are advocating for policy change at the state level and fighting for social justice, equity, and a healthy community.

Reproductive health justice is vast, yet abortion seems to always be at the forefront of America’s consciousness. Over the past year, North Carolina conservatives have launched a new political offensive to limit health care access, legislate reproductive decisions, and disregard the bodily integrity of half the population. Though attacks like this are happening across the country, the recent legislative actions of North Carolina officials strike close to home for us North Carolina State University social work graduate students as we prepare to enter the career field.

Despite protests that SB 353 could further restrict access to abortion, and reminders that such action went against his campaign promises, Governor McCrory signed Senate Bill 353 into law on July 29th 2013.  Under this law, 1) medical providers in North Carolina have the right to refuse to perform abortions (despite already being able to do so), 2) sex-selective abortions are banned (despite having no evidence of prevalence), 3) providers must be present for an entire surgical abortion procedure or the administration of the first pill to induce a chemical abortion (despite no evidence of adverse safety or health effects), 4) the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) must write and enforce new rules for health clinics, which could include new ambulatory care standards and 5) motor vehicle operators are responsible when colliding with motorcycles they do not see.  Yes, you read that correctly– our legislators stuck limiting health care regulations onto a motorcycle-safety bill.

Redundant legislation and foggy rhetoric do not ensure women’s safety, nor do they prevent harsh interpretation from restricting access to abortion. Opponents of the bill fear the new regulations could potentially force health clinics to close their doors if they cannot meet the new standards.  National and State medical groups attest that the guidelines clinics currently run under are sufficient, and enforcing new regulations are unnecessary.  The effects of these new DHHS rules are inciting community uproar and concern.  Negative reaction from the bill comes from what we believe are the true motives of those who pushed for it to be signed into law.

To put it bluntly, those with a uterus will suffer under SB 353, but communities which rely on clinics for comprehensive health care will suffer the most. If clinics are forced to close under the new DHHS rules, many marginalized populations (which already have limited access to health care) will become even more pushed aside–by NC legislators. Without availability to those clinics, marginalized women will lose access to reproductive health care which could result in increased unwanted pregnancy and no safe access to abortions. Their reproductive livelihoods are being threatened by policies put in place that limit their access to these clinics.

It seems that the main moral value driving this policy is the right to life, while a woman’s right to bodily autonomy drives opposition.  The heart of the reproductive health debate seems to involve where priority is placed: on the unborn, or on the pregnant female.  Senate Bill 353 does not deny the right to abortion, but it infers a proposition to end them. For those who support a woman’s right to have complete control of her reproductive health, arguments such as these do not overshadow the existing life of a mother.

Abortion and reproductive health care providers, as well as individual advocates across the state, have made their voices heard both during and after the consideration and passage of SB 353. Though there is inspiration from past movements related to such ingrained and divided social justice issues, nothing seems to adequately prepare us for today’s fight.  The only seemingly viable option is to attempt to network with other states; together we can comprehensively and independently lobby lawmakers.  As reproductive rights are dismantled, we can harness the resulting disgust and outrage, empower all individuals to stand up for personal liberty and bodily integrity, and influence our state, our region, and our country.

Commemorating Roe at 41

Today is the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade. In commemoration of this historic ruling, NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina’s Executive Director, Suzanne Buckley, released the following statement:

This landmark decision by the US Supreme Court changed the lives of women and families across our nation forty-one years ago today by making abortion care in the United States safe and legal. Despite the attempts by anti-choice extremists to chip away at these rights, the majority of North Carolinians share our belief that every individual should have the freedom to decide when, how, and with whom to have a family without interference by the government.

Today, NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina stands with thousands of our supporters across the state in committing ourselves to protecting and advancing reproductive rights in 2014. We will continue to fight for medically accurate sex education, to stop the deceptive practices of crisis pregnancy centers, to expand Medicaid, and to guarantee that all women in NC have access to safe and legal abortion care. Together, we will build on the momentum from Moral Mondays, outside the Governor’s mansion and in cities and towns across the state as women and families came together to stand up to attacks on health care and women’s rights. This past summer, we turned out in record numbers to stand up for our values against underhanded attempts to sneak through bad legislation. The groundswell of activism we witnessed this summer confirms what we already know—that North Carolinians will not stand idly by as extreme lawmakers try to take away the rights our mothers and grandmothers fought for over forty-one years ago today.

I am pro-choice because