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Renee EllmersAs Suzanne Buckley of NARAL Pro Choice NC wrote on the main Policy Watch page yesterday, today is the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision — a great time for people committed to freedom and women’s health to recommit themselves to the cause.

And, happily, such efforts can begin with at least a modest celebration this morning: Congresswoman Renee Ellmers of North Carolina and some other GOP women appear to have raised the ire of anti-choice extremists this week by having the temerity to challenge one among many dangerous provisions in an anti-abortion bill that was being advanced in the U.S. House.

This is from the this morning’s edition of Raleigh’s News & Observer:

“House Republican leaders, faced with an uprising within their ranks over a controversial abortion bill, pulled it Wednesday evening before it was scheduled for a vote Thursday to coincide with the 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1974 Supreme Court decision that legalized the procedure.

Rep. Renee Ellmers, R-N.C., and Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Ind., had led a group of Republican lawmakers who disagreed with part of a bill that would ban most abortions at 20 weeks or later.

Ellmers and Walorski on Tuesday officially withdrew their support for the bill, and House Republican leaders scrambled to address the concerns of the two lawmakers and a group of other Republicans. Late Wednesday night, the GOP House leadership replaced the bill with one that would end federal funding for abortions.”

The ironically-named North Carolina Values Coalition decried Ellmers’ action as a “betrayal.”

Good for Ellmers. While it would be of a lot better if she would just speak up publicly and renounce the mean-spirited folly of the entire GOP anti-reproductive freedom drive, her recent actions are better than nothing. Let’s hope it’s the start of a more ambitious connection to common sense on the whole issue of reproductive freedom on her part.

Click here to read Suzanne Buckley’s excellent essay.

Commentary

Reproductive rightsThe state Department of Health and Human Services will be holding a hearing this Friday morning on new proposed abortion provider regulations. As explained in this recent post by the good people at NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina, there is actually cause for optimism that the rules will not unduly burden women’s health. That said, anti-choice advocates are banging the drum to alter the proposed regs in a negative way and, as a result, advocates for women’s health will gather Friday on site in support of keeping the new regulations safe and sane.

This is from an alert sent out by the good people at Progress NC:

December 19: Put Women’s Health First!

The NC Department of Health and Human Services has proposed new regulations on abortion providers. The Department has included the input of women’s healthcare providers throughout the rulemaking process, and we need to stay vigilant and make sure that any new regulations put women’s health FIRST.

That’s why Planned Parenthood in NC, NARAL Pro-Choice NC, ACLU-NC, NC Women United, NC NOW, NC Women Matter and Progress NC need you to join us on Friday, December 19 at Dorothea Dix Campus, Brown Building, Room 104, 801 Biggs Drive, Raleigh, NC.

Click here for more information.

 

News

Last night’s debate between Sen. Kay Hagan and former state speaker Thom Tillis included plenty of bantering about who cares more about women’s health issues — most of which concerned access to contraception after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby case.

Sen. Hagan called the decision as she saw it — a blatant effort to restrict access to contraception, while Tillis defended the rights of small businesses with a professed religious affiliation and announced a new-found affection for the expansion of contraception by a variety of means — making birth control pills available over-the-counter as opposed to through a prescription, for example.

Of course, contraception is only one piece of the women’s health pie, and a decision out of Texas late last week reminds us that the fight over restrictive state abortion laws continues to percolate in the federal courts.

In that decision, U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel — a George W. Bush appointee — ruled that the state’s requirement that abortion facilities be outfitted as ambulatory surgical centers unduly burdened women without any countervailing legitimate state interest.

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Uncategorized

McCrory budgetIn case you missed it over the weekend, Gov. Pat McCrory told an interviewer that he plans to sign the coal ash clean-up bill even though he believes that part of it is unconstitutional. This is from a story on WRAL.com:

McCrory said the bill’s creation of an independent coal ash oversight commission, appointed by House and Senate leaders and the governor, blurs the separation of powers of different branches of the government – just one example, he added, among several such proposals lawmakers advanced this year.

“I’m going to have to fight them from a constitutional standpoint, including even the coal ash commission,” he told Campbell. “I think this concept of creating commissions that are appointed by the legislature – or a majority by the legislature – is unconstitutional, regardless of the subject. Because that means the legislature is doing the operations of state government, which is not their responsibility. I think there’s a constitutional issue there.

How such a position squares with the Governor’s sworn duty to support the Constitution is hard to figure. Of course, when you’re listening to the rather unique policy observations of North Carolina’s current chief executive, you always have to take things with a grain of salt. In the same interview, the Guv expressed his approval for the General Assembly’s rejection of another bill during the waning hours of session last week because it contained multiple, unrelated topics. Again, this is from the WRAL story:

“There were parts of the bill that had no relevance to the other part of the bill, and that’s not the way you should do legislation,” he said.

Uh, Governor, we hate to tell you this, but you’ve already signed dozens of bill that do exactly the same thing — most notably, the infamous SB 353 from just last year. You remember that one. It dealt with those two closely-related topics: abortion clinic regulations and motorcycle safety.
Uncategorized

From the good people at NARAL-Pro Choice NC:

NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina member activists will deliver broken cookies to the Governor’s Mansion this morning at 11:00 am to mark the one-year anniversary of Governor McCrory’s broken promise not to support restrictions on access to abortion care. Last July, Governor McCrory signed into law Senate Bill 353, a series of restrictions on reproductive health care. The next day, the governor delivered cookies to NARAL Pro-Choice NC and other reproductive rights advocates protesting his broken promise outside the Governor’s Mansion.

Governor McCrory’s signing of Senate Bill 353 (also known as the “Motorcycle Abortion” bill) came less than one year after promising North Carolina voters in a televised debate that he would not sign any restrictions on abortion access if voters elected him governor.

“Governor McCrory broke his promise to North Carolina voters when he signed Senate Bill 353 into law last year, and today we are delivering broken cookies to remind him of his broken promise,” said NARAL Pro-Choice NC executive director Suzanne Buckley. “With the stroke of a pen, Governor McCrory banned insurance companies from offering for abortion care coverage through the exchanges and stripped away comprehensive reproductive health care coverage from over 367,000 city and county employees.This law is filled with restrictions on access abortion care that McCrory promised he wouldn’t sign,” she said.

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