If I learned one thing in college, it was: you don’t mess with North Carolina. I went to a small all-women’s liberal arts college in Winston-Salem, NC, and despite picturesque colonial brick buildings, strange traditions, obsession with sweet tea, and a “y’all” at every turn, my Salem sisters (and non-female identified college family members) were fierce. You messed with one of us, and you had a protest on your hands. Almost everyone organized around one social justice issue or another on campus (or in my case, almost every case I could get involved with). In admissions tours we would brag about Salem sisters who broke curfew to go support the Greensboro sit-ins during the civil rights movement. They let me write my senior thesis on anti-choice extremism and domestic terrorism.
So I’m just saying y’all – don’t mess with North Carolina.
Now, imagine my dismay about the state legislature voting to approve a new TRAP law that could close all but one abortion clinic in my beloved state. (For those who may not know – a TRAP law (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) [PDF] is a law that imposes burdensome regulations on abortion clinics that are designed to put the clinics out of business. Often they require expensive building renovations and set ridiculous requirements like a specific size janitor closet. Others requiring doctors have admitting privileges in local hospitals while knowing that hospitals will deny them and that such privileges are necessary in an emergency situation.) The North Carolina House of Representatives added the restrictions last minute to a motorcycle safety bill. Yup, you heard me right – they added abortion restrictions to a motorcycle safety bill. The Senate passed the motorcycle-safety-turned-abortion-regulations-bill yesterday, the last day of the legislative session, 32-13. Women’s rights advocates were hopeful that that would be as far it would get, since Governor Pat McCroy made a campaign promise that he wouldn’t sign an anti-abortion bill into law…
Umm… oh no you didn’t. Oh no you didn’t just go back on your word to the women of North Carolina. Oh no you didn’t just put our health in jeopardy. Oh no you didn’t just say you’re going to also reduce our access to birth control, STI testing, and cancer screening that are often done the in same clinic. Oh no you didn’t just mess with the women of North Carolina. Oh no, you didn’t.
If I learned one thing in college, it is that you DO NOT MESS WITH NORTH CAROLINA. Especially the women. And as I could have predicted, no sooner did the words leave his mouth than people were organizing. Bright and early Monday morning, activists are going to be outside the Governor’s House calling on McCroy to do the right thing and stand with NC women. If he wants to be in front of my medical decisions, then I’m going to be in front of his office. Seems only fair to me.
Planned Parenthood is recruiting volunteers to join the demonstration Monday, July 29 and Tuesday, August 30 from 10am to 10pm. They would like people in four hour shifts to make sure there is a continuous presence outside the Governor’s House. You can sign up for a shift from their Facebook event by clicking “Get Tickets” (don’t worry, it’s not actually for tickets to anything, just for scheduling). They really need help from 2:00pm to 6:00pm on Monday. Volunteers to help with food and water are also muchly appreciated.
When you’re online, use #StandwithNCWomen for tweets, blogs, posts, and pictures. The bigger the turnout and visibility, the more pressure to veto.
Stand with NC women and hold politicians responsible for their their promises and actions. The sneak attacks and dirty tricks have to stop – so let’s send a clear message that we simply won’t allow them anymore.