Women’s History Month Highlight: Professor Angela Davis

Ashton Billingsley, NARAL Pro-Choice NC Intern and NC State University Junior

Angela Davis is a writer, a college professor, an activist, and a feminist. She has challenged the oppression of women, especially women of color, and also takes the time to acknowledge the impact of women’s rights from a global perspective. Specifically, Professor Davis focused much of her research on tracing women’s oppression through history.

Professor Davis wrote, “Birth control — individual choice, safe contraceptive methods, as well as abortions when necessary — is a fundamental prerequisite for the emancipation of women.” This particular stance on reproductive rights is crucial to understanding why birth control and abortion access fit into a feminist agenda. Professor Davis highlights the connection between the right to birth control and the right for women to choose what happens to their own bodies.

MLK-Angela-DavisDavis is currently a Feminist Studies professor in California and continues to advocate for reproductive justice as well as many other reform platforms. As we approach the last week of Women’s History Month, I encourage each of you to reflect on how our society would be different without reproductive choice. We are not truly free without reproductive freedom and access. The world would be a different and much darker place without people like Professor Davis. Please join me in thanking Angela Davis!

Fact-Check: OTC Birth Control

In last night’s debate between Senator Kay Hagan and Speaker Thom Tillis, there was a lot of talk about birth control.  If you were listening closely, you heard something new: Speaker Tillis claimed to support increased access to birth control, and proposed to do this by making some forms of birth control available over-the-counter (OTC).

Don’t be mislead folks.  As our friends at Planned Parenthood Action Fund pointed out, “[o]pponents of women’s health are proposing to move birth control over-the-counter as a part of their larger effort to take away insurance coverage for birth control — forcing women to pay out-of-pocket instead of keeping the coverage they have today.”  The reality is that making some forms of birth control available OTC may increase access for some individuals, but birth control would become more expensive and less affordable for most women and families since most health insurance plans don’t cover OTC products without a prescription.

The lack of affordable contraception is a real problem that we encourage more lawmakers to sincerely address but making some forms of birth control available OTC is not a comprehensive solution.  A national survey from the Center for American Progress showed that in 2012 women with private insurance already paid about 50 percent of the total costs for oral contraceptives, while the typical cost of noncontraceptive drugs is only 33 percent.  The high cost of birth control has real, potentially harmful consequences. The same CAP survey found that the high cost of contraception forced many women to stop or delay using their preferred method of birth control while others were forced to depend on less effective methods because they were most affordable.  With 98% of American women using some form of birth control in their lifetimes, it’s long past due for lawmakers to recognize that birth control is basic and essential health care that should be both affordable and accessible.

 

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:

We rally because it’s not our boss’s business!

March 25, 2014

2:05 AM: I left my UNC apartment and felt discomforted. Upon hearing that I was headed to the ‘Not My Boss’s Business’ rally at the U.S. Supreme Court, my peers nodded, “You’re protesting again, like Moral Mondays but in D.C?” the undecided ache in their voices squeaked. I had to reflect on whom I was doing this for. Me? Them? Those? All?

  • Was this decision for ‘me’? The 18 year old me who was unable to afford Plan B and became pregnant?
  • Was this decision for ‘them’? The striving students who desperately need birth control and protection?
  • Was this decision for ‘those’? The religious right who loophole ‘me’ and ‘them’ with TRAP laws?
  • No, this decision was for all of us. The people of all backgrounds who reserve the right to choose!

 2:30 AM: I stepped onto the bus and felt comforted. My bus buddy Mike and my fellow UNC undergrad Maria smiled. Despite appearing different, we agreed on the need for mobilization. Mike disseminated the BTC Report on economic inequality and Maria blurted out, “I told myself I can’t be afraid of activism.” The bus cheered in solidarity.

8:50 AM: We arrived at Union Station and felt fired up! We trekked through the blizzard to the Supreme Court building and rallied for 2.5 hours. Singing birth control-themed songs about the snow, politics, and direct action kept us warm. Community leaders brought their perspectives to the podium. A sea of parents, millennials, doctors, Latinas, spiritualists, ASL interpreters, reporters, and the like partook in the rally against Hobby Lobby’s lawsuit.

12:15 PM: Our bus gave one last chant to D.C., “The people united will never be defeated!” and departed. As an African American millennial, I felt incredible.

6:45 PM: Three pit-stops later, we arrived in Chapel Hill. With the weight of these court cases on our shoulders, we started a dialogue about choice. Personifying corporations, challenging the Affordable Care Act, and prioritizing religion denies choice.

We must press on until we all feel comforted, fired up, and incredible.

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The author early on the morning of March 25, 2014 standing on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Written by: Park Cannon, Organizing Intern at NARAL Pro-Choice NC.