Commentary

Governor’s veto of inflammatory abortion bill should stand

Last election, North Carolina voters made clear that they’re tired of the regressive policies coming out of Raleigh and wanted a change by breaking the supermajority in both chambers of the North Carolina General Assembly. The new, more representative delegation headed to Raleigh earlier this year with the numbers to finally sustain vetoes from Governor Roy Cooper.

Despite this new opportunity to keep the extreme agenda of the current majority in check, far too many legislators haven’t heeded voters’ message.

In the span of just a week, the North Carolina legislature rushed Senate Bill 359 through committee and passed the so-called, “Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act” bill last month. This bill is one of the most egregious examples of inflammatory rhetoric posing as public policy our state as ever seen.

The bill is not grounded in medical science or fact and is based on a false narrative that doctors aren’t already providing appropriate care. This is yet another example of lawmakers stigmatizing and criminalizing doctors who are providing a safe, legal and necessary medical procedure. Doctors are held to a high standard of ethical practice and there is absolutely no evidence that abortion providers in our state are delivering anything besides excellent care. For lawmakers to suggest otherwise is insulting to medical professionals in our state.

The simple fact is that the sponsors of this bill are the very same people working to ban access to abortion outright. It is completely disingenuous for them to claim that this bill is about anything other than intimidating doctors and limiting access to care when these are the same lawmakers who are actively working to limit abortion very early in pregnancy as well.

Unfortunately, so-called “born alive” bills aren’t exclusive to North Carolina. President Trump sent a clear mandate to anti-women’s health lawmakers across the country by speaking about these types of laws in his State of the Union address. These same lawmakers wasted no time heeding the call to carry out his extreme, dangerous and false agenda.

Fortunately, Governor Cooper stood with North Carolina doctors by vetoing this dangerous and misleading bill, saying SB 359 is “an unnecessary interference between doctors and their patients.”

The Senate voted to override the Governor’s veto. The vote took place entirely along party lines except the one vote that tipped it over the edge: Democratic Senator Don Davis.

Senator Don Davis chose to vote against the Governor in favor of supporting President Trump’s agenda on women’s health, plain and simple. This cannot continue.

In the House, Representatives Garland Pierce, Charles Graham, James Gailliard, and Raymond Smith all voted for SB 359, siding with the anti-women’s health majority. It is critical they not make the same mistake as Senator Davis and vote to sustain Governor Cooper’s veto of this dangerous bill.

In 2018, voters stood united against divisive politics and demanded change in Raleigh. Our legislators must listen to North Carolinians when we say: Stand with doctors, stand with women, stand with your constituents and sustain the Governor’s veto of this inflammatory bill.

Lindsay Robinson is Director of Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood South Atlantic.

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Support for NC Caregivers: Critical During Economic Recovery

Based on the July 2011 AARP report, Valuing the Invaluable 2011 Update: The Growing Contributions and Costs of Family Caregiving, 1.2 million North Carolinians act as unpaid caregivers to an elderly family member.  The rising elderly population in North Carolina has increased the demand for family caregivers.  And with the recent economic downturn and budget cuts to health care, there is a heavier strain on economic stability for caregivers and their families statewide.

Workers, who also act as family caregivers, experience a multitude of issues such as: lost earnings, access to social security benefits, and reduced job security.

A lack of support for workers who are caregivers in North Carolina uncovers issues for not only the caregivers themselves, but also employers.  The AARP report states that a loss of $33.6 billion per year can be attributed to a decrease in productivity based on employee’s absenteeism from the workplace in order to handle an array of caregiving obligations.  Employers are also paying 8% more for caregivers in health care benefits because of reoccurring cases of depression and stress.

Supporting workers who are caregivers is critical, as Connecticut realized this year (click here to read more).  North Carolina can and should do more to put in place family-friendly workplace policies, like improving the Family and Medical Leave Act and passing the Healthy Families Act, which would give all North Carolinians a chance to earn paid sick days.