North Carolina Catholic for Choice Speaks Out Against #HB465

Sarah J. Bucher, a Catholic for Choice from Raleigh, North Carolina 

cfcavatarAs a pro-choice Catholic, I feel the need to speak out against North Carolina House Bill 465, which triples the existing mandatory abortion waiting period. When policymakers create obstacles in reproductive healthcare, they fail to respect an individual’s moral decision making, and they place additional burdens on vulnerable women. I expect elected officials to speak up for the rights of every individual and to advocate for those who will suffer most if this legislation is allowed to pass. Women in North Carolina deserve no less.

To learn more about HB 465, read this Op-Ed by Dr. David Grimes and Dr. Amy Bryant.  

UNCW Student Reflects: After 42 Years, is Roe a Reality?

By Ana Eusse, MSW Student and NARAL Pro-Choice NC Campus Representative at UNCW 

As we celebrate the 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, those of us who support choice must ask if choice is a possibility if there isn’t an ability to access reproductive care. When healthcare is seen as a commodity, as opposed to a human right, the lack of access to full reproductive health access cannot be ignored, and it is imperative that we take that into account when advocating for choice.

This is particularly true when advocating for choice in poor communities and communities of color. The lack of access to women of color and poor women results in truly not having a true choice. Women of color, immigrant women (both citizen and non-citizen), and poor women have higher rates of unplanned pregnancies, yet lack the resources to have an abortion. Many of these women never had access to the tools to stop them from getting pregnant.

Many think Roe has guaranteed access to abortion. It has and does not. The government’s control over poor women’s choice through legislation that denies using federal funds for abortions, like the Hyde Amendment, creates the lack of access for women who desperately need access to abortion. Subsequent legislation, such as Planned Parenthood v. Casey, has allowed federal and state governments to erect further roadblocks impeding choice and preventing access for far too many people.

As a woman of color and a Health Care Assistant for Planned Parenthood, I am a witness to the struggles of women of all backgrounds who seek access to abortion care. These struggles include finding support in complete outsiders because her family and own community would never accept her making her own decisions; finding financial support to move forward with the procedure; and most importantly, removing the stigma associated when choosing to have an abortion. Unfortunately, the realities for women who seek to have an abortion are the institutional barriers such as government, religion, and gender that actively seek to remove not only access but also the fundamental choice itself. In preventing access, the government is completely overriding the Roe v. Wade decision and denying women the right to have bodily autonomy. 11Ana Eusse

Women really only have a choice when that choice is mirrored by access. Unfortunately, for many women the reality of having a choice is only the first step in deciding whether we can have an abortion. Once a choice is made, thanks to the Casey decision, the next step consists of conducting research to ensure you have the money for travel (including gas and lodging), as the closest clinic could be hundreds of miles away, possible childcare, time away from work, and then of course paying for the actual procedure which begins as high as $400. For the average poor woman, finding out whether she will have enough for food or gas everyday is a constant struggle, and when it comes to her own body, she can be discouraged from even recognizing what she CHOOSES because, well, there is just not access.

Concerned about deceptive advertising on campus that misleads students into believing CPCs offer comprehensive reproductive care? Please sign here: bit.ly/StopCPCAds

On Your Reading List: The Guttmacher Institute’s Winter 2014 Policy Review – “A Surge of State Abortion Restrictions Puts Providers – And the Women They Serve – in the Crosshairs”

The Guttmacher Institute is a non-profit organization which works to advance reproductive health.

The Guttmacher Institute is a non-profit organization which works to advance reproductive health.

The Guttmacher Institute just released the Winter 2014 edition of their Policy Review, entitled “A Surge of State Abortion Restrictions Puts Providers – And the Women They Serve – in the Crosshairs.” As the beginning of the 2015 legislative session draws near, pro-choice advocates in North Carolina should look not only at what legislation will likely be proposed in NC, but also the legislative trends attacking abortion rights throughout the country. Understanding national political trends is essential to protecting access to reproductive choice for all women and families in North Carolina because women and families pay the price for these restrictions which are falsely touted as protecting women’s health.

The review discusses the surge of state-level abortion restrictions that have dominated state legislatures the past three years – there were more state abortion restrictions enacted in 2011-2013 (205 restrictions) than in the entire previous decade (189 restrictions from 2001 to 2010).  Targeted regulation of abortion providers (TRAP), limits on the provision of medication abortion, bans on private insurance coverage of abortion, and bans on abortion at 20 weeks are the four major categories of abortion restrictions predominantly seen sweeping legislatures. However, a few states have made efforts to protect access to abortion. It is time for pro-choice advocates to fight back against the relentless attacks that have faced reproductive choice – not only in defeating the anti-choice legislation, but by introducing our own pro-choice measures to protect the health of North Carolina women and families.


Click here to read the review.

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:

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.