I thought it might be good to have an update on HB695, the bill that would restrict abortion in NC. Demonstrators against the bill joined the “Moral Monday” protests on Monday. Yesterday, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services held a hearing on the bill and voiced concerns, urging lawmakers to study further before voting. This morning, Governor McCrory announced he planned to veto the bill unless significant changes were made (although no one knows exactly what that means). Based on those events, it appeared that the momentum behind passing HB695 was slowing, especially as some legislators started to express their discomfort because they are concerned with the economy, not social issues. Unfortunately, the sneak attacks continue as Twitter is reporting that HB695 is unexpectedly being heard in committee without any notice.
Update: The House Judiciary just rolled out a new abortion bill as SB353. There is no audio or live streaming from the room, but apparently demonstrators against it are filling the room. The bill was on motorcycle safety but now is about abortion. Changes include dropping ambulatory surgery regulations, requiring doctor to be there for first administration of RU486 and giving DHHS latitude to decide regulatory framework for clinics. Here’s an article with more information on the changes.
I keep starting posts with the intention of posting pictures from our beach trip but instead find myself compelled to rant about NC politics. This is not a political blog, and I make no claim to be a pundit or knowledgeable in any way about politics. I’m just an ordinary citizen, a woman, a mother, and yes, a liberal. I care about fairness, reason and facts. I like to think I’m reasonably intelligent and mostly objective. I try hard to see both sides, to understand other points of views.
One of the things that bothers me about the recent goings on in NC is the callousness of the decisions made by the General Assembly. Where is the concern for all of NC’s citizens, especially those less able or with fewer means? How can any human being with an iota of decency cut unemployment benefits because they think it will spur the jobless to get off their asses and find work? NC has the 5th highest unemployment rate in the nation, and no one is living in the lap of luxury on unemployment. How can they cut off a very small source of income and not care about how these people will live?
How can they not care that they are effectively cementing lower achievement for poor children by preventing them from much-needed pre-K preparation? How can you look in the face of a 4-year-old and tell that child that essentially because his or her family is poor and therefore unworthy, they do not deserve a chance to thrive educationally? This editorial “The Decline of North Carolina” in the NY Times provides a great overview of some of the horrifying decisions the General Assembly has made.
I also don’t like sneaky moves and underhanded behavior, which the attempts to restrict abortion in the state clearly are despite legislators’ claims to have no motive other than ensuring the safety of abortion and therefore indicating their concern for women.
And of course, most of all, as a woman, I deplore attempts to restrict my ability to make the most personal of decisions for myself. It’s abortion today; perhaps tomorrow it could birth control or domestic violence or family building via assisted reproductive technology.
I’m a slacker, though. I haven’t been participating in any of the Moral Monday protests, even though I work 10 minutes from downtown. I follow activists on Twitter who are putting their money where their mouths are and demonstrating and advocating. All I do is retweet, share information and post my unhelpful thoughts on what’s going on in NC. It’s not enough. It won’t be enough.