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Leslie Boyd

Yesterday at the Moral Monday rally on Halifax Mall behind the state Legislative Building, one speaker did an especially good job of pointing out the double standard of many “pro-life” politicians. Leslie Boyd, a person familiar to NC Policy Watch readers, explained that when she was advised to have an abortion because her unborn son had a virus, she “chose life” by opting to carry the pregnancy to term. However, when he later acquired an illness that would prove fatal without treatment, the same politicians who encouraged her to “choose life” deprived him of life by denying him the healthcare he needed. Boyd eloquently proclaimed that his blood was on their hands, and that they were, in effect, responsible for his death.

Boyd is right, of course. If politicians are going to demand that women “choose life” before a child is born, the least they can do is assure that after a child is born, s/he receives the necessary healthcare everyone deserves. Otherwise they are advocating a double standard, and at that a very strange one: the unborn life is treated as more worthy of protection than those who are already living in this world. As long as North Carolina politicians seek to prevent the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and to block Medicaid expansion while also shrinking Medicaid, those of insufficient income for necessary health expenses – as many as 2,800 per year according to some estimates – will suffer the loss of life, whether their own or the lives of loved ones.

Michael Dise is currently a seminary student at Wake Forest Divinity and a summer intern for the NC Justice Center. 

Medicaid expansionMedicaid — the absurd failure to expand it at federal expense for a half-million low-income North Carolinians and the state Senate’s latest remarkable proposal to slash the program still further– remains front and center in the state policy debate these days. Moral Monday protesters highlighted the issue last night and the real life stories of average working people whose lives are darker and shorter because of legislative leaders’ Scrooge-like behavior continue to pour in. Tomorrow, activists from an array groups will gather at the General Assembly to lift up this most obvious of issues once again.  Here’s yet another story that makes the case from the good folks over at Women AdvaNCe and Planned Parenthood:

Stuck in the Medicaid gap
By Emily Callen

A few weeks ago, while talking to people about Medicaid expansion at a festival in downtown Raleigh, I met Linda. Though she seemed tired after a day at work and was probably eager to change out of her Bojangles uniform, Linda took the time to talk to me. “I really need this,” she said, filling out a postcard urging legislators to take action. “I tried to sign up for Obamacare but it was just too expensive.”

I learned later that Linda, who considers herself generally healthy, had been in a car crash last December. Broken bones kept her out of work for a few weeks, and she still sees an orthopedist because her collarbone hasn’t healed yet. Since Linda doesn’t have insurance, she’s worked out a deal to pay her doctor a little bit each month. It will take her a long time to pay off the bill, and in the meantime she will continue to struggle to make ends meet.

Linda’s experience is not uncommon. She is one of over 300,000 North Carolinians who fall into the Medicaid Gap; Read More

NARAL Pro-Choice NC Director Suzanne Buckley agrees with House Speaker Thom Tillis about one very important matter — there were a lot of losers in North Carolina as a result of the 2013 legislative session. Check out the latest statement from her group:

“Last week, House Speaker Thom Tillis disregarded North Carolinians opposed to his extreme agenda at the NC General Assembly as ‘whining coming from losers’ in an interview with Politico.

‘Speaker Tillis’ comments are the latest in a series of disparaging and disrespectful remarks about North Carolinians from extreme leaders in Raleigh,’ said Suzanne Buckley, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina. From Governor McCrory’s ‘I don’t care’ response to Cookiegate in July to NC Senator Rucho’s Twitter rant, NC GOP leaders have a lot to get off their chests these days.

‘At least Tillis was right about one thing—the unemployed, teachers, military families, young people, immigrants, workers, and women are the losers under Tillis’ leadership,’ she added. Thousands of North Carolinians, especially women, suffered significant losses in the Tillis-led 2013 legislative session. Under Tillis’ leadership, the NCGA: Read More

CookiesUnless you read all the way to the bottom of Sarah Ovaska’s remarkable post below, you may have missed this amazing nugget Ovaska culled from the Guv’s interview with WFAE in Charlotte yesterday:

“When asked by [interviewer] Collins about whether, his July delivery of a plate of cookies to abortion rights protestors outside the Governor’s Mansion was a good idea in hindsight, McCrory remarked he didn’t care.

‘I don’t care, I felt like doing it,’ he said. ‘Who cares?’”

Good lord, is this man really serious?

Look, reasonable people can have differeing positions on the important and emotionally-charged matter of abortion and reproductive rights generally, but when the elected leader of nine-million people engages in such patently juvenile behavior and then doubles down on it with such a dismissive and downright lunkheadedly disrespectful statement as this, all a body can do is slap one’s forehead and get ready for the next round of jokes at our once-respected state’s expense.

It seems like every time I debate a conservative talking head on TV or radio and warn about North Carolina’s ongoing slide to the bottom (and mention that we seem bent on becoming the new Mississippi) the response goes something like this: “No, our model is Texas. That’s where they know how to grow the economy and shrink government.”

Of course, even at a glance, it’s obvious to most intelligent people why Texas is no model worth copying.  Lest you have any doubts, however, Andrea Flynn of the Roosevelt Institute explains some very important reasons why life in Texas is increasingly third-world-like for a huge chunk of the population: Read More