A recent override of Governor Bev Perdue’s (D) veto on abortion legislation has made me reevaluate the “progressive” label I once gave to North Carolina. As an intern at the Feminist Majority Foundation and senior at Queens University of Charlotte I was disgraced at the news and immediately thought about what to do to mend this atrocity. The answer was obvious: it is not just I who need to do something, but everyone who stands for choice, and what we need to do is act – to get our voices heard.
The “Abortion-Women’s Right to Know” bill requires a woman to wait 24 hours before receiving a safe, legal abortion. The legislation also requires that the woman be shown an ultrasound of the fetus, listen to a heartbeat, and hear a recitation of alternative options to abortion from her doctor.
Despite the fact that the bill seems contradictory to Republican’s core beliefs of less government intervention, they eagerly endorsed the bill. One of the most noticeable (and upsetting) components is the inclusion of all abortion cases including those of “rape, incest, terminal pregnancies, or pediatric patients.” A Mother Jones article outlined other negatives (and ironies) of the bill. Mississippi reported an additional 2,900 births due to similar legislation, and a $7 million Medicaid price tag accompanying it. In North Carolina, a state that is currently making deep cuts in the funding for education and medical services (including Planned Parenthood), the bill seems fiscally unreasonable. On top of this, the government is now stepping into a sacrosanct patient-doctor relationship.
I am ashamed to be a citizen of a state that has seen fit to try and manipulate a woman into changing her choices. Ruth Samuelson stated earlier last month that the bill “is not intended to make it more difficult for a woman to obtain an abortion.” While parts of what Ms. Samuelson says are correct – the patient will have to file no extra paperwork, etc. – she is excluding the emotional difficulties that are now imposed on women, which is the exact intent of the legislation. Supporters claim that the bill is in effect still “pro-choice” in that women will now be more informed to choose, but their new information will be one sided: the bill wants a woman to be fully informed about her pregnancy, but not her future with a child. There is no 24 hour waiting period for the choice to become a mother. Women should be regarded as capable of making this decision on their own without influence from the state.
This and other bills that have passed in the last few years prove that our representatives are not hearing our voices. It is time for us to make a noise. It is time to take back our freedoms that the legislature is depriving us of. By impeding a woman’s choice regarding abortion, the government has taken away our fundamental rights as citizens of the USA. We need to join together to stop this injustice by writing e-mails and letters to our representatives, joining activist groups, marching, voting (see the FMF’s Get Out Her Vote campaign), running for positions ourselves, educating others, and advocating! It is up to us as citizens of North Carolina and America to secure our choice.
Contact Gov. Bev Perdue and thank her for her veto at: