by Kelli Early, 2017-2018 Campus Leader at UNC Asheville
Roe v. Wade turned 45 this year, and with its anniversary brings celebration of its precedents that allow people greater bodily autonomy, but also the reality that Roe’s mission is under attack.
This is no surprise to North Carolinians. Since Roe, North Carolina has been a testing ground for national anti-choice legislation. While reproductive advocates successfully defeated a recent proposed federal 20-week abortion, sadly, the North Carolina General Assembly passed a 20-week ban in North Carolina in 1973, the same year that Roe v. Wade was decided. These early attacks on abortion access in North Carolina were followed with abstinence-only-until-marriage education, which a recent government evaluation found has no effect on teen behavior.
And since the 1970s, organizations like NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina have defended North Carolinians’ abortion access in the courtroom, the streets, and in intimate spaces like clinics or classrooms where the impacts of these oppressions are felt.
Stigma and shame are prevalent social effects of criminalizing abortion and sexuality. That’s why this anniversary of Roe v. Wade, NARAL Pro-Choice NC hosted the 2nd Annual Rock for Roe benefit show to dance, celebrate, and raise funds to continue our defense of reproductive rights.
The evening included a raffle of wonderful prizes, ranging from concert tickets at the Orange Peel to a YWCA membership, procured with the help of Development Director Toni Curry and Board Member Monroe Gilmour. The audience was treated with live music by Big Sound Harbor, a local band in Asheville who became experts at raffling our prizes and fundraising another year of resistance!
While attendees walked between tables of prizes, NARAL Pro Choice NC’s Advocacy and Organizing Manager Lynne Walter offered people buttons, stickers, and literature as tools to spread knowledge about reproductive advocacy in North Carolina. Participants were able to sign a petition against additional 20-week abortion bans and encouraged to take action after the event.
It is vital that community members on a local and state level come together to share stories, challenges, and kinship to sustain our movement for reproductive freedom, because, ultimately, we are fighting for each other’s lives. Since 1 in 4 U.S. women will have an abortion in her lifetime, the work of NARAL Pro-Choice NC and all other reproductive justice organizations must continue so that North Carolina’s dark history of sexism, racism, and homophobia don’t become our future!