Raleigh-Nowhere has the much touted War on Women been waged more viciously than in North Carolina. In the 2011 Legislative Session, rather than focusing on jobs as promised, the newly elected Republican majority, with not a single pro-woman’s health member in their ranks, spent more time passing bills to limit women’s access to health care than almost any other single topic. The 2012 budget passed by the NC House last week shows the new legislative majority is not done with putting politics before women’s health.
Included in the 2012 NC House budget was a Special Provision prohibiting the state’s health and human services from contracting with private family planning providers. In a May 24th HHS Appropriations committee hearing, legislative staff made clear Planned Parenthood is the only organization affected by the provision. Purposefully written to avoid additional litigation by not specifying Planned Parenthood by name, the Special Provision is the only such measure in the budget that bans the state from doing business with private entities.
“The hypocrisy of this Special Provision is glaring,” says Melissa Reed, VP of Public Policy for Planned Parenthood Health Systems. She goes on to say, “In every other provision of public service—except for family planning provided by Planned Parenthood—the legislative majority is aggressively pushing privatization.”
Women’s health advocates say the 2012 Short Session is nothing more than a continuation of the war on women begun in earnest last year.
In 2011 Legislative Session, the new majority voted to ban Planned Parenthood from receiving state funding to provide lifesaving cancer screening, annual exams, birth control and teen pregnancy prevention services. They passed “Choose Life” license plates, which will funnel state dollars to fake clinics that purposely deny women medically accurate information. They stripped state employees and teachers of comprehensive reproductive health care and then moved on to what they consider their coup de grâce: the so-called “Woman’s Right to Know” bill—imposing an ultrasound, two waiting periods and state-directed biased counseling on every single woman seeking abortion care regardless of her circumstances.
Many of the bills passed in the 2011 legislative session remained tied up in litigation.
“Rather than focusing on much needed jobs, the new legislative majority has spent two crucial years passing legislation limiting women’s access to vital health care while judging and condemning women for making deeply personal and difficult health decisions,” says Paige Johnson, Vice President of External Affairs for Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina.
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.