McCrory Breaks His Campaign Promise: North Carolina Women Deceived Again
RALEIGH, NC—This afternoon, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory said he would go back on his promise to North Carolina women not to further restrict their access to health care when he announced he would sign a laundry-list of new restrictions that if enacted could cause women to lose access to a safe and legal procedure. When announcing this staggering change of position, Governor McCrory also revealed that he does not fully understand the provisions of this legislation, which were only revealed to the public Wednesday after they were snuck into an unrelated bill that was passed to enhance motorcycle safety.
“Gov. McCrory is wrong — and worse, he’s not listening to his constituents,” said Melissa Reed, Vice President of Public Affairs at Planned Parenthood Health Systems. “Thousands of North Carolinians have descended on Raleigh to make their voices heard – telling their legislators and the Governor that they would not stand for legislation that would hurt women and could dramatically restrict access to safe, legal abortion—and we’re not going anywhere. We’re still fighting for North Carolina women.”
Over the past two weeks, thousands of North Carolinians have rallied at the Capitol, called their legislators and organized on social media to send a clear, powerful, unmistakable message last week that women don’t want politicians to meddle in our personal medical decisions.
Yesterday, a Kaori Sueyoshi, a student at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, spoke at a rally for women’s health in Washington, D.C. She said, “North Carolina bore and raised me. But it doesn't feel very welcoming anymore. Our state legislature has been spinning back the clock, stripping decades and decades of protections – for people of color, for poor people, for children, for women, for all of our communities. And like so many of my friends, I am appalled at how far these politicians will go to cut off women’s access to abortion and other basic, preventive health care. Let's face it, we're the ones who'll suffer from the policies these politicians are trying to enact.”
On Monday, as thousands of North Carolinians gathered at the North Carolina General Assembly to oppose extreme attacks on North Carolina women and their families, Janet Colm, Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina president and CEO, was among the women's health supporters arrested after participating in a peaceful demonstration of civil disobedience. In a piece on the , she writes, “This past weekend — as the nation celebrated Independence Day — I decided, enough is enough. It's not just that our legislature is turning its back on the history and people of our state. It's not just that they are playing with women's lives, although that's good enough reason to take a stand. I want these politicians to see that with every attack, they are creating a fierce and ever stronger opposition. We're making it impossible for politicians to ignore us, no matter how hard they try.”
After several anti women’s health bills failed to advance in the legislature, HB 695, a bill unrelated to women’s health, was drastically amended last week to include every single abortion restriction introduced in the 2013 legislative session – and even new ones that were not considered before. These include targeted restrictions of abortion providers that, if implemented, could dramatically restrict the number of health centers that provide abortion in North Carolina. Abortion is one of the safest medical procedures for women and already one of the most heavily regulated. Planned Parenthood carefully follows all current rigorous safety guidelines.
In to further confuse the public, the House Judiciary Committee gutted another unrelated bill, SB 353 formerly dealing with motorcycle safety, and inserted provisions from HB 695 into it Wednesday morning. SB 353 passed the House 74-41. It moves to the Senate for a concurrence vote and, if approved, to the Governor's desk.
"The bill passed by the North Carolina House yesterday differs little from the sneak attack passed by the Senate last week,” pointed out Paige Johnson, Vice President of External and Governmental Affairs. “The primary difference is that the House version punts women's health into a political arena, giving McCrory's political appointee full authority to impose restrictions on providers of safe and legal abortion. Voters trusted McCrory when he said he wouldn’t restrict women’s access to health care. He should keep his campaign promise and veto this sweeping attack on women's access to healthcare."
· HB 353 would strip city and county employees of abortion coverage in their health plans even in medical situations that jeopardize a woman's health or cases of severe fetal anomalies. Ninety percent of health insurance plans currently offer such coverage.
· HB 353 would deny abortion coverage to women and their families who buy health insurance through North Carolina's health care exchange even when they use their own money to purchase their plan.
· HB 353 would turn doctors into investigators and women into suspects by forcing physicians to interrogate women about their motives for obtaining an abortion to determine whether their reasons are related to sex preference. This is in spite of the fact that the vast majority of abortions occur before the sex of a fetus can even be determined. Penalties for doctors include fines of up to $100,000 and could have a chilling effect on access to safe and legal abortion .
· HB 353 would severely restrict access to safe and legal abortion by imposing burdensome, costly and medically unnecessary requirements on facilities and doctors who provide abortion care. The new version gives the Dept. of Health and Human Services the ability to impose ANY of the ambulatory surgical standards.
Planned Parenthood Action Fund went up with radio ads opposing these attacks on North Carolina women.