You know when you were little and your mother would tell you, "If you can't say anything nice then don't say anything at all?"
Well I'm about to throw all of that out the window (sorry mom).
The North Carolina State Senate, in all of its wisdom, decided they didn't like being one upped by what has been happening in Ohio and Texas. Heaven forbid other states have laws and policies that are more prohibiting and crazier than what North Carolina has!
To rectify this situation, the Republicans decided to get into a proverbial pissing contest with those other states. Perhaps Sen. Warren Daniel, the representative from my home district, missed seeing North Carolina on The Daily Show and wanted to give them some new material. Or perhaps he views women as the lesser sex and doesn't want to afford them the same rights as men. Now, I'm not saying he's sexist. I'm just saying that it could be an explanation of why he'd support measures that would close all but one abortion provider in the state, which would basically make it impossible for a woman to get a safe and legal abortion (let's not forget abortion is still legal) in the state of North Carolina.
This abortion amendment, which includes a part called the Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers, also known as TRAP (catchy, huh?), was added onto another ridiculous bill that regarded Sharia Law. The irony of the two of these issues being linked is apparently lost on them. The want to ban Islamic law and religion from being used to settle family matters, but want to force their own religious beliefs on an entire state.
Now I'm not sure if the reason to introduce this amendment behind lock and key at 5:30 p.m. yesterday during a committee meeting with members of the anti-choice community in attendance was because they thought us womenfolk were too dumb to figure out what they were doing and weren't going to pay attention or if it was because they knew we'd be outraged and decided to be super sneaky about it.
I, for one, like to picture the NCGA as a sneaky, evil, bumbling, villain, similar to Boris from the Bullwinkle Show, so I tend to think the answer is the latter.
When the news broke about this state legislative pissing contest over who could make life the worst for women, it rightly made national news, and got people angry.
This morning hundreds of women and men showed up at the NCGA to show their outright disgust over this bill (and side note, men, if you're pro-choice that makes you infinitely more attractive, so keep that in mind).
During the debate on the floor of the senate, where hundreds of protesters were watching, Lt. Gov. Dan Forest decided making sure the protesters stayed quiet wasn't enough. So he told them that he was banning "silent hand motions" and that those who disobeyed that would be thrown out.
To which I thought about how happy I was to not be in the gallery, because he would certainly not approve of the hand motions I was doing in regards to him.
Not to be outdone, Senate President Pro Tempore told the gallery that "the only voices that matter" were the senators on the floor. Classy.
Anyways, there were some great arguments against this amendment from Sen. Earline Parmon and Sen. Martin Nesbitt especially, and I thank them so much for speaking up for the general public who did not have time and were not allowed to do the same.
There were, of course, lots of comments for those in favor of this amendment. One of the more curious points these proponents made was how this bill was actually helping women, because it would ban sex-selective abortions!
During this part I wanted to yell out in my best G.O.B. Bluth impression, "C'mon!"
There are of course exceptions to every rule, but in most cases you don't find out the sex of the fetus/parasite/weird life form/baby inside you until somewhere around 18-20 weeks.
North Carolina already has banned abortions after 20 weeks. So we're talking about a general two week window. The vast majority of abortions occur during the first trimester, a time in which most people would not know the sex of the fetus.
So I'm not really sure how having access to safe and legal abortions in North Carolina is really perpetuating a "war on women" or really a "war on fetuses that might grow up to be a woman."
Senate Republicans are using this argument because they know it is pretty difficult for a person to be in favor of sex selective abortions. Which as someone who understands the dirty, sneaky game of politics, I get.
However, it is disgusting to basically lie to your constituents about this amendment and make it seem like this is all you're trying to do, and that if you disagree with the other factors then you must be in favor of killing all the fetuses that may or may not be little girls.
That's repulsive, especially given the many other drastic things this bill would do. You know, like close clinics that provide a multitude of other services for men and women in the state that don't necessarily have to do with having an abortion.
All of this is even more infuriating given that all of these anti-choice legislators (who like to call themselves "pro-life"... ha) have voted to reject Medicaid expansion and made history as North Carolina became the first state to eliminate federal unemployment benefits. These two things alone are going to make life infinitely harder for many of the state's children. Children who have already seen their overall well-being drop. If these hypocrites are so "pro-life" why aren't they concerned about children after they've left the womb?
Unfortunately this bill will pass. Gov. Pat McCrory seemed dismayed about how this was introduced and on the campaign trail said he would sign no new laws restricting the access to abortions in the state.
We'll see if he lives up to that campaign promise, because North Carolina women are watching, and they won't back down without a fight.