Tonight: UNC-Chapel Hill panel discussion on “Faith and Abortion”

On Wednesday evening UNC-Chapel Hill’s Program for Public Discourse will hold a panel discussion on Faith and Abortion as the last event in its Abbey Speaker Series this academic year.

The discussion comes as the Republican majority in the North Carolina General Assembly pursues new restrictions on abortion, part of a wave of such legislation following the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade.

Last month a Meredith College poll found more than half of respondents wanted to keep the state’s current law allowing for abortion access up to 20 weeks or to expand the period in which women can access abortion. Over a third wanted to restrict access to abortion further or ban access entirely. About 31 percent said they would like to keep the law as it is.

From left to right: Professor Mara Buchbinder, Leah Libresco Sargeant, Maharat Ruth Friedman, Lauren W. Reliford.

That division is deeply partisan, the polling found – three quarters of Democrats polled wanted to keep the current law or expand access while nearly 60 percent of Republicans wanted further restrictions or an outright ban. Among unaffiliated voters, nearly 60 percent said they would prefer keeping the 20 week ban or expanding access.

Wednesday’s panel discussion will be moderated by Mara Buchbinder, a professor and vice chair of the department of social medicine at the UNC School of Medicine. Panelists include Maharat Ruth Friedman, clergy at Ohev Sholom – the National Synagogue in Washington DC; Lauren W. Reliford, a social worker and Political Director for Christian organization Sojourners and Leah Libresco Sargeant, writer and author of the book Arriving at Amen, which examined her conversion from atheism to Catholicism.

The event begins at 5:30 p.m. FedEx Global Education Center, Nelson Mandela Auditorium and will also be streamed online. Registration here.

New Meredith College poll looks at views on discrimination, Equal Rights Amendment

New polling from Meredith College examines North Carolinians’ views of discrimination and the Equal Rights Amendment, which seeks to provide protections for those experiencing it.

The full report on the poll, produced in partnership with the ERA-NC Alliance, was published Monday. It delves into how different North Carolinians see discrimination against an array of different groups – from Black and Hispanic people to LGBTQ people and religious groups like Jews and Evangelical Christians.

“The issue of discrimination and what can be done about it is as old as the United States,” the report reads. “Protecting voting rights for all citizens, the fight for equal pay for equal work, and for being treated equally in criminal matters have a long history in this country. Recently, prominent hate crimes against many groups, such as the mass shooting of Black persons in Buffalo or attacks against synagogues and their congregants, have raised additional concerns about how laws grounded in the United States Constitution can protect the country’s citizens.”

“In addition, many politicians have attacked the issue of  ‘wokeness’ as a way of targeting marginalized groups, such as the LGBTQ+ community, making it more acceptable to discriminate against members of these groups,” the report reads. “It is within this cultural and political context that we decided to survey North Carolinians about their perceptions of discrimination against traditionally marginalized groups in society, such as
women and Black people. We also decided to ask citizens about their perceptions of groups not
considered to be historically marginalized groups—men and White people—to determine
similarities and differences between perceptions of discrimination between historically
marginalized and historically elevated groups.”

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