November 14, Raleigh—Republican House MajorityLeader Paul Stam wasted no time in making clear that his anti-abortion crusade will be central to the GOP's agenda in 2013. Today, working behind the scenes, Stam accomplished a goal that has long eluded him. He got information biased against abortion included in a recommendation to come out of the Perinatal Legislative Committee—a recommendation expected to become legislation in 2013.
Today’s Perinatal Legislative Committee took up the issue of pre-term deliveries, a leading cause of infant mortality. Stam and his allies requested that information linking abortion to pre-term deliveries be included in North Carolina’s high school healthy living curriculum—despite the fact that trusted medical experts, including the American Medical Association, the American Pediatric Society and the CDC, do not recognize a correlation between abortion and pre-term deliveries.
“Stam is opposed to safe and legal abortion and will use any opportunity he has to push his single-minded agenda,” said Melissa Reed, VP of Public Policy for Planned Parenthood Heath Systems.
Intent on singling out abortion, Stam and his allies initially ignored factors well established as leading causes of pre-term deliveries such as poverty, lack of health insurance and obesity. Committee members, pointing out this omission, added these medically recognized factors to the final recommendation.
“Instead of focusing on real maternal health needs, Stam prefers shaming women for making deeply personal health decisions and stigmatizing a safe and legal medical procedure,” said Paige Johnson, VP of External Affairs for Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina.
Election Day delivered Republicans a supermajority in both chambers of the legislature, clearing the path for legislators intent on pushing through an extreme agenda. What remains to be seen is whether or not governor-elect Pat McCrory will stand by his word and oppose efforts targeting women’s health. In the final gubernatorial debate, McCrory stated that he did not support additional restrictions on abortion, which no doubt helped him garner strong support from women.
Planned Parenthood Health Systems and Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina are affiliates of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the nation’s leading reproductive health provider, educator and advocate. The two North Carolina affiliates serve more than 25,000 women, men and teenagers every year in health centers in Asheville, Charlotte, Chapel Hill, Durham, Fayetteville, Greensboro, Raleigh, Wilmington and Winston-Salem.