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ultra117U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Eagles today struck down a North Carolina law requiring abortion providers to show a woman an ultrasound and describe the images in detail four hours before having an abortion, even if the woman objects.  Eagles held that provisions of the law violated providers’ First Amendment rights to free speech.

“Today the court sided with the rights of women and their doctors over the ideological agenda of extremist lawmakers,” said Jennifer Rudinger, executive director of the ACLU of North Carolina, which challenged the law along with the American Civil Liberties Union, the Center for Reproductive Rights and Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

“If these unconstitutional measures had gone into effect, doctors would have been prevented from using their best medical judgment to provide patients with care based on their specific individual needs. This law represented an egregious government intrusion into individuals’ private medical decisions, and we are very pleased that it will not go into effect.”

The full decision is here.

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As noted here yesterday, it’s not at all clear that the book banning efforts of religious conservatives in the Brunswick County schools were put to rest with the recent vote to keep Alice Walker’s The Color Purple  on the reading list for some students. Happily, the good folks at the ACLU of North Carolina are digging a little deeper to find out what’s really going on and what’s behind the book banning efforts. This was released this morning:

BOLIVIA, NC – The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina Legal Foundation (ACLU-NCLF) yesterday sent a public records request to the Brunswick County Board of Education and the Brunswick County Board of Commissioners seeking all communications between officials related to recent efforts to ban Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, “The Color Purple,” from Brunswick County Advanced Placement (AP) English classes.

The public records request, filed under North Carolina public records laws, also seeks communications regarding any other proposed curriculum changes or plans for banning other works of literature from Brunswick County public schools going back to the 2012-2013 school year. Read More

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Some seats still remain for tomorrow’s Crucial Conversation luncheon presented by NC Policy Watch, the ACLU of North Carolina and Equality North Carolina“Parents in life, strangers on paper: How North Carolina laws barring second-parent adoption and marriage for same-sex couples jeopardize families and their children.”

The event will feature Chris Brook, Legal Director of the ACLU of North Carolina Legal Foundation; Chris Sgro, Executive Director of Equality North Carolina; and parents Marcie and Chantelle Fisher-Borne, Shawn Long and Craig Johnson, plaintiffs in Fisher-Borne v. Smith, a federal lawsuit challenging North Carolina’s bans on second-parent adoption and marriage for same-sex couples on behalf of six North Carolina families.

When: Tuesday, December 3 at 12:00 p.m. – Box lunches will be available at 11:45 a.m.

Where: Center for Community Leadership Training Room at the Junior League of Raleigh Building, 711 Hillsborough St. (At the corner of Hillsborough and St. Mary’s streets)

Space is limited – pre-registration required.

Click here for parking info.

Click here to register

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Same-sex adoptionSame-sex adoption2

NC Policy Watch, the ACLU of North Carolina and Equality North Carolina are proud to host a very special Crucial Conversation — “Parents in life, strangers on paper: How North Carolina laws barring second-parent adoption and marriage for same-sex couples jeopardize families and their children.”

Featuring Chris Brook, Legal Director of the ACLU of North Carolina Legal Foundation; Chris Sgro, Executive Director of Equality North Carolina; and parents Chantelle Fisher-Borne, Shawn Long and Craig Johnson, plaintiffs in Fisher-Borne v. Smith, a federal lawsuit challenging North Carolina’s bans on second-parent adoption and marriage for same-sex couples on behalf of six North Carolina families.

When: Tuesday, December 3 at 12:00 p.m. – Box lunches will be available at 11:45 a.m.

Where: Center for Community Leadership Training Room at the Junior League of Raleigh Building, 711 Hillsborough St. (At the corner of Hillsborough and St. Mary’s streets)

Space is limited – pre-registration required.

Click here for parking info.

Click here to register

Questions?? Contact Rob Schofield at 919-861-2065 919-861-2065 or rob@ncpolicywatch.com

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From the good folks at the ACLU-NC:

Randolph Board Votes to Reverse Ban on “Invisible Man”
ACLU of NC Says Episode is Valuable Reminder of Duty to Promote Academic Freedom and Reject Censorship

ASHEBORO – Tonight, the Randolph County Board of Education voted 6-1 to reverse its previous vote banning Ralph Ellison’s literary classic, “The Invisible Man,” from Randolph County schools.

In response, Chris Brook, Legal Director for the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina Legal Foundation (ACLU-NCLF) released the following statement:

“Tonight, the Randolph County Board of Education righted a wrong. The freedom to read is just as essential to a healthy democracy as the freedom of speech and all other rights protected by the U.S. Constitution. This episode should serve as a valuable reminder to students, teachers, parents, and school officials across the state of our ongoing duty to promote academic freedom, ensure the free exchange of ideas and information, and reject the always looming threat that censorship and suppression, for any reason, pose to a free society.”