Please join us on May 26 at 10:30am for our third Military #MeToo panel, this one on Domestic Violence Struggles In The Military. We have a panel of experts lined up and will hear victim stories as well as learn about what could be used or done from people who deal with victims. This event is on Zoom. Registration link will be added soon.
North Carolina ‘conservatives’ are swiftly moving an abortion-restrictions bill through the state House this week, saying the legislation would protect both civil rights and people with disabilities. But that’s not true. In fact, leading disability justice groups, like Disability Rights NC, oppose this bill. This is yet another bill with an inflammatory title, Human Life Non-Discrimination/No Eugenics Act (HB453,) which would prohibit abortion on account of the actual or presumed racial identity of the fetus and in cases where Down syndrome is detected or suspected. What House Bill 453 actually does is set up a process to force physicians to formally question and document women’s reasons for getting abortions, while ignoring real discrimination against people with disabilities. It also makes public records of these statements and the doctors performing abortions with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), in addition to ultrasounds, which are already being sent to DHHS for abortions done after the sixteenth week of a woman’s pregnancy.
This week there were two significant developments on our issues–one good and one disappointing. The good news is that HB 358, which would have barred transgender girls and young women from participating in school sports designated for females, is dead. The disappointing news is that a bill to raise the marriage age to 18 with no exceptions (HB 41/SB 35) was gutted. The amended bill brings the existing law into line with the sexual assault statute– something that should have been done when the marital rape exemption was repealed–while retaining all of the archaic exemptions that allow marriage as young as age 14.
North Carolina has a Black maternal health crisis in as well as gaps in reproductive health care that was further exposed during the pandemic. The maternal death rate is especially high in North Carolina. North Carolina ranks 30th out of the 50 states. Nationally Black women are two to three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related issues than white or Hispanic women. The United States has the highest maternal death rate of all the Western democracies, and, most alarmingly, the rate has been rising.
North Carolina NOW supports the passage of the North Carolina Momnibus Act (SB632/HB 507) that targets the Black maternal health crisis in the state and addresses the gaps in reproductive health care during the pandemic. Here is an action for you to take to push our representatives to end the Black maternal health crisis NOW!
Never a dull moment at the legislature. This week a dispute between House Speaker Moore and a senior Republican legislator went public and culminated in Representative Julia Howard being removed as a senior finance committee chair. Great news on one of the many anti-Transgender person bills filed.
NC NOW is a cosponsor of the #MMIW Virtual Event in 2021, and the NC NOW president will speak on how the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) would help some of egregious loopholes in tracking and prosecution of perpetrators of assaulting and murdering indigenous women. Here is the press release for the event, which is 10am-1pm on Saturday, April 24, 2021. Update: Watch the recording on youtube here.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: NORTH CAROLINA MISSING AND MURDERED INDIGENOUS WOMEN (MMIW) ONLINE RALLY April 24, 2021
On Saturday, April 25th families along with state-wide agencies will host an online gathering that focuses on Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women ahead of the National Day of Awareness on May 5th. A host of speakers and performers previously scheduled to attend the march will participate in an online rally. This is a call to action for activists, supporters and families to raise awareness, attention and bring justice to the many women and girls who have disappeared or have been murdered in NC.
Rape response coverage had improved greatly in Cumberland County over the past 6 years. Fayetteville NOW works with Rape Crisis of Cumberland County and with the police department special task force on getting the rape kits that had been sitting around across the state counted, and taking care of rape victims. Fayetteville NOW recognized Deanne Gerdes, the Executive Director of Rape Crisis, and Fayetteville Police Lt. John Somerindyke for their work in improving the situation. The rape victims in Fayetteville used to be able to depend on special nurses to take special care of them during the 4-7 hour process of collecting data for rape kits. The sexual assault nurse examiners (SANE) nurses were available 24 hours, 7 days a week at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center in Fayetteville, and have a wealth of special skills that these survivors need. Those SANE nurses are no longer employee at Cape Fear Valley in Fayetteville, as reported by the Carolina Public Press on January 25, as part of an investigation of SANE nurse availability around the state. No one is ensuring they are available around North Carolina. This is part of a two part investigation, with followup.
North Carolina NOW Legislative Update #12 19 April 2021
Black Maternal Health Week was observed in North Carolina with the introduction of Senate Bill 632,/House Bill 507, the North Carolina Momnibus Act, that targets the Black maternal health crisis in the state and addresses the gaps in reproductive health care during the pandemic. The maternal death rate is especially high in North Carolina. We rank 30th out of the 50 states. Nationally Black women are two to three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related issues than white or Hispanic women. The United States has the highest maternal death rate of all the Western democracies, and, most alarmingly, the rate has been rising.
NC NOW members delivered the NC NOW pro-choice signature ad packets to all of our representatives in the NC House and NC Senate on Wednesday, April 14, 2021. The packets included a letter from NC NOW on bills related to abortion access that we support and oppose, and this year we delivered two copies of the ad in each packet. Due to the pandemic and safety concerns, we did not deliver in 2020. See NC NOW’s letter below and see more about the ads below. The eight members delivering the signature ad packets represented Fayetteville NOW, Chapel Hill NOW, Raleigh NOW, and Durham NOW. There were two other groups of people who got the signature ads ready to go the previous weeks.
Pro-Choice Signature Ad Delivery in 2021 with 7 of 8 people shown. Photo Credit: Maureen Wertheim
North Carolina NOW Legislative Update 12 April 2021
This week saw the introduction of two terrible bills. The religious right has had so much success on the medical front passing laws to regulate abortion and abortion providers, they have decided to widen the scope of their activities to deny trans youth medical care (SB 514). The second bill (SB 515) would legalize medical discrimination across the board by introducing a bill that would allow doctors and other medical personnel along with hospitals and other medical practices to deny medical care to anyone for conscientious reasons. It is worthwhile to examine these two bills in detail because they provide important insight into the kind of world these religious extremists desire.