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even though we will face our most challenging legislature ever, you can rest assured that true to our promise, Act. No Matter What, Planned Parenthood Action Fund of Central North Carolina will ACT to protect women's health.

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Motorcycle Vagina 1 Year Later

Let’s get one thing straight: motorcycles and women’s health care have nothing to do with one another. That didn’t stop the North Carolina General Assembly, under the leadership of House Speaker Thom Tillis, from attaching deeply unpopular abortion restrictions to an unrelated motorcycle safety bill last year. Now, Tillis is running against incumbent and women’s health champion Kay Hagan in the November 2014 U.S. Senate race. If he wins, he is sure to take his anti-women’s health agenda and sneaky tactics with him up to Washington.

We’re going back to the Capitol today to tell Thom Tillis that we haven’t forgotten, and we’re making sure all North Carolinians know when, where, and how to help keep him out of the U.S. Senate. What can you do? Tell #TooFarTillis: YOU’VE GONE TOO FAR.

Remembering Tillis’ Tricky Tactics to Block Women’s Health Services

Thom Tillis Motorcycle Vagina

Thom Tillis is the chump who packed two bills — unrelated to women’s health — with a slew of dangerous abortion restrictions.

Tillis and his allies used every trick in the book to get the “Motorcycle Vagina” bill passed, despite vehement opposition from women and families across the state. The restrictions were first added to a bill about sharia law (seriously) late at night on July 2, 2013. The following morning, over 600 women’s health supporters packed the legislature, outraged by the underhanded tactics. Popular opposition didn’t stop Tillis from holding closed meetings about the bill or from sneaking these dangerous restrictions into another unrelated motorcycle safety bill and making sure it passed without input from a single medical professional.

Eighty percent of North Carolinians thought it was inappropriate to tuck abortion restrictions into a motorcycle safety bill, which became law July 10, 2013 — one year ago today.

That move won him our Gynotician of the Week honor. But Tillis’ terrible record and agenda on women’s health doesn’t end there.

Tillis’ Long Track Record of Attacking Women’s Heath

Thom Tillis Record on Birth Control

Let’s take a moment to remember the many reasons that Thom Tillis is bad for North Carolina women and families, and why we must stop him from becoming our next U.S. Senator:

  • Throughout his career, Thom Tillis has made restricting women’s access to safe and legal abortion a top priority.
  •  In 2011, Tillis championed the medically unnecessary, mandatory ultrasound bill — a measure designed to shame and judge a woman seeking an abortion. The bill required abortion providers to perform an ultrasound, place the image in the woman’s line of sight, and read a government-mandated script — even if she objects.
  • He supported a budget that would cut women off from preventive and lifesaving health care at Planned Parenthood, including well-woman exams and cancer screenings.
  • Did we mention he wants to outlaw safe and legal abortion? Yep.

If all that weren’t enough, Tillis just said he thinks bosses, like those at arts and crafts store Hobby Lobby, should be able to decide if their female employees can access birth control. 

Recent Flip-Flopping & Mind-Muddling

While Tillis once flaunted his extreme and dangerous positions, he is now flip-flopping in an effort to back away from his unpopular agenda and record on women’s health.

During the Republican primary, Tillis said that states have the right to ban birth control. But that position suddenly shifted, and Tillis’ campaign recently said states should NOT ban contraceptives.

Tillis has long supported a so-called “personhood” amendment, which would interfere with decisions about birth control, safe abortion, management of a miscarriage, and access to fertility treatments. Such an initiative would grant legal protections to a fertilized human egg and is logically consistent with the view that abortion is always wrong — no exceptions.

“… every human being at every stage of development must be recognized as a person possessing the right to life in federal and state laws without exception and without compromise.”— Personhood USA

But simultaneously, Tillis believes abortion should be illegal with the exceptions of saving the life of the woman, and in cases of rape and incest. You can’t have it both ways, Tillis. And you’ve gone too far.

Tell #TooFarTillis: You’ve Gone Too Far!

Women in North Carolina can’t trust Thom Tillis to represent us in the nation’s capital. He’s gone too far, and we won’t let him go any farther.  If you’ve had enough of the backward vision that Thom Tillis has for women, tell him: YOU’VE GONE TOO FAR! And keep the conversation going online with the hashtag #TooFarTillis.

To mark the one-year anniversary of the Motorcycle Vagina bill, join the “Too Far Tillis” rally in Raleigh, N.C., with Planned Parenthood Votes on Thursday, July 10, at 6 p.m. As we’ve invited supporters to join us at the rally tonight, dozens have shared their stories from last summer. Some of them packed the gallery in the legislative chamber, some of them stood outside the governor’s mansion for days in the late-July heat. None of them have forgotten the sneak attacks. All of them are excited and ready to hold Tillis accountable. 

Emily Callen is the Wake County, N.C., Field Director for Planned Parenthood Votes campaign to re-elect Kay Hagan. 

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This month we highlight Tiara Walker, a Criminal Justice and Psychology major at Fayetteville State University who will graduate this spring.  Originally from Washington D.C. she moved with her family to Fairmont in Robeson County to be closer to her extended family.  Tiara is a fellow of YP4, a youth fellowship where young people focus on social justice work in their college campus communities.  YP4 fellows create a blueprint of how they want to impact their community for the better and Tiara’s focus was to bring reproductive issues to the forefront of her campus’ attention through advocacy and outreach with Planned Parenthood.

 As member of NAACP- Fayetteville State chapter, Tiara came her chapter’s president during her sophomore year and in 2012 represented young people at HKonJ as a youth mentor speaking about the importance of staying involved in improving social welfare for all people.  She most recently joined Sigma Gamma Roh and as part of her work with the sorority works on HIV and AIDS awareness initiatives on campus.  

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1.     As a university student, how do you feel the work Planned Parenthood does impacts the campus community?

I think that Planned Parenthood’s presence has had a great impact on campus.  Ever since I was a freshman I remember seeing the information tabling and programs that have been put on by you all.  Y’all are always there doing stuff such as placing condoms in the dorms and the educational video screenings.  Every time the Planned Parenthood educational staff presents, there’s always something new to learn about. 

The advocacy component in terms of [protecting] women’s health is on the rise too, especially since females outnumber males on campus.  Some legislators might not take us as seriously because we are young, but our voice matters because we’re the ones making decisions about our body, like our annual exams, birth control, and how we get the health care we need.

2.      What made you choose to become a volunteer with Planned Parenthood?

To be honest, I can’t even remember.  I was trying to figure out more about starting a VOX chapter at Fayetteville State when you (Heather Williams, Field Organizer) reached out to me about volunteering.  When I was told about ACA work that you all were doing in the fall, I felt it was important to join up.

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In this volunteer spotlight we want to highlight the work of one particular volunteer who has helped to set the bar for volunteers in Cumberland County and lay the groundwork for others like her.  It is our honor to cast a spotlight on Judy Serratore, supporter and volunteer with our Education Department and Teen Connections Peer Ed. Alumni group in Fayetteville.

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Judy, affectionately known as “Grandma” to some of our teen health program alumni, originally hails from New York.   She moved to Fayetteville nine years ago to be closer to her family.  Judy says that “God put her in Fayetteville for a reason.”  Not only have her grandchildren completed the Teen Connections teen pregnancy prevention program in Cumberland County, but Judy has also taken part in Parents Matter, a program focused on healthy parental communication for guardians of teens.  Judy currently works with the local school system as a substitute teacher and spends any spare time she has with her three and a half year old great-grandson, Anthony. She also serves as a member of the Teen Connection’s Community Advisory Council in Cumberland County.

What brought you to Planned Parenthood and Teen Connections?

Well, a few years back, I was at a festival in downtown [Fayetteville] and I saw a booth that you all were at.  I came up and spoke to the volunteer at the booth and she encouraged me to take a look into the Teen Connections for my grandkids.  I looked it up and talked to a few people and it seemed like a good thing to try.  I’ve been coming out and supporting you all for about five or six years now, and I still enjoy it.

What was it about Teen Connections that caught your attention the most?

Monika, without question.  [Monika Thigpen is Director of Education at PPCNC and was the original lead educator for Teen Connections in Cumberland County when the program first began nearly ten years ago.]  I admired that she was so down to earth and put together.  She’s highly educated, but can also get on the kids level to talk to them about important stuff about their sexual health, whether they choose abstinence or are sexually active.  I know that she was someone I wanted my grandkids around because she was a good influence.

You know, kids don’t always want to listen to their parents or grandma about this stuff.  They wouldn’t take me seriously, but I liked that you all provided a place for them to come together and get the correct information to keep them safe and healthy.

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For Immediate Release: Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Contact:
Melissa Reed, Vice President for Public Policy
                919-833-7534, ext. 6144
                Raleigh, NC
                Melissa.Reed@pphsinc.org

Planned Parenthood Advocacy Groups Praise Senator Kay Hagan for Her Vote in Support of Paycheck Fairness

Raleigh, NC — Planned Parenthood Health Systems Action Fund and Planned Parenthood Action Fund of Central NC today praised Senator Kay Hagan for her vote in support of the Paycheck Fairness Act.  The bill, introduced by Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), would have provided women with increased protections against pay discrimination. Unfortunately, Republicans in the House blocked this legislation from passing, the latest tactic in a string of measures by some members of Congress to restrict women’s rights, instead of advancing equity.

 

Statement from Melissa Reed, Vice President for Public Policy, Planned Parenthood Health Systems Action Fund:
“Today Senator Hagan stood up for working women and families, when she voted in support of the Paycheck Fairness Act, a commonsense bill which would have protected women in the workplace.

“This vote is yet another example of how Senator Hagan stands up for North Carolina women and families in Washington. In these tough economic times when one-third of all American women are struggling to get by, it’s critical that members of Congress work together toward solutions that improve the lives of women and their families by remedying pay disparities and relieving the economic burden of birth control.  Unlike her likely challenger, Thom Tillis, who killed a state level equal pay measure in Raleigh, Senator Hagan understands that to succeed in the workplace and in life, women need a fair chance to make what they deserve and they need.

 

“At Planned Parenthood Health Systems Action Fund and Planned Parenthood Action Fund of Central NC we’ll be working around the clock to ensure voters in our state know where the candidates stand on issues important to women’s health and economic well-being. Women are watching and we want leaders that will move our country forward, not backwards on women’s health and rights. North Carolina can’t risk Thom Tillis.

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Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina and Planned Parenthood Health Systems are affiliates of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the nation’s leading reproductive health provider, educator and advocate. Last year alone, Planned Parenthood in North Carolina cared for more than 25,000 women, men and young people, providing annual exams, lifesaving cancer screening, birth control, STD detection, treatment and prevention in health centers located across the state in Asheville, Chapel Hill, Charlotte, Durham, Fayetteville, Greensboro, Raleigh, Winston-Salem and Wilmington.

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Understanding Sen. Richard Burr’s silent, one-man judicial filibuster and why you should care about it

Since June of 2013, Senator Richard Burr has been blocking the nomination of Federal prosecutor Jennifer May-Parker to serve as a Federal District Court Judge for North Carolina’s Eastern District. He is doing so by taking advantage of an archaic Senate rule that requires both home state senators to signify their approval before a nominee can receive a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

To make matters worse, Burr has refused even to say why – even though he previously recommended May-Parker for the job. When confronted by reporters, all the Senator has said is that he doesn’t answer questions on judicial nominations and that the matter is between him and the White House.

Clearly, this is an unacceptable situation. The situation is made even more acute by the fact that the court seat in question has been vacant for eight years; it is oldest judicial vacancy in the country. The Federal court system long ago designated the situation as a “judicial emergency.” Moreover, if confirmed, May-Parker would be only the third woman and third person of color to serves as a federal judge in North Carolina District Court history. And diversity matters in the courts.

If you agree that Senator’s unexplained blockade is simply unacceptable, please consider speaking up and taking action in any and all of the following ways:

  • Call Senator Burr directly at (202) 224-3154 and express your opposition to his blockade. You can also email the Senator by following this link
  • Write a letter to your local newspaper
  • Tell your friends on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites to do likewise

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This is a guest post about the Moral March on Raleigh, that happened on February 8th, from an intern at Planned Parenthood Health Systems, our sister affiliate here in North Carolina. 

Wow. Who knew that one of my first assignments as an intern at Planned Parenthood would lead to an event filled with tens of thousands of people? To say that the Moral March on Raleigh was a success is an understatement. First of all, it didn’t rain! With rain in the forecast the whole week, the streets filled with pink hats and a gray overcast sky above was a beautiful site. Second on the list of accomplishments, the groups turned out well over 25,000 people. In fact, Planned Parenthood exceeded its goal of having 800 supporters at the march and a pink sea emerged among the crowd. Over 1,000 pink hats were handed out in less than two hours to those who support women’s health. No matter what cause had brought individuals to the Moral March, the march was a success because it brought a diverse group of people together in a way that I have never seen before.

                Looking around the crowd, there were so many reasons for why people were marching. Some carried signs protesting against fracking, while others demanded Medicaid to be expanded. There were LGBTQ activists, and a little further into the crowd there was a person holding a sign asking for the minimum wage to be raised and others wanting to advocate for immigration rights. I knew that there would be a diverse crowd, after all the NAACP and the 150 coalition partners support a wide variety of issues. What I did not expect to see, however, was the incredible unity among the crowd. Some carried multiple signs for differing issues, many sported Planned Parenthood’s pink hat and stickers but no matter what, there was an unquestioned support for all issues present at the march. In short, the crowd truly embodied that idea that an injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

For me, the Moral March proved that a third fusion movement is in fact on the rise, and I cannot imagine being anything less than thrilled. As a person who feels strongly about equality, I have always viewed the Civil Rights Movement as extraordinary. However, I never dreamed that I would be a part of the next movement, and I am so thankful that my internship has led me to being so involved.

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PLANNED PARENTHOOD ACTION FUND

Contact: Planned Parenthood media office, media.office@ppfa.org, 212-261-4433
For Immediate Release:  January 16, 2014

 “Today’s ruling is another major victory for women’s health,” says Planned Parenthood Action Fund

New York — Today, a federal court found the state’s mandatory ultrasound law unconstitutional — marking a major victory for women’s health against politicians trying to interfere with a woman’s personal medical decisions. The judge’s ruling permanently enjoins the law and prohibits the state from requiring doctors to deliver ideological information intended to shame and demean a woman seeking a safe and legal abortion.  In ruling in Planned Parenthood’s favor today, the court ruled “the Act requires providers to deliver the state’s message to women who take steps not to hear it and to women who will be harmed by receiving it with no legitimate purpose.”

Statement from Cecile Richards, Planned Parenthood Action Fund:

“Today’s ruling marks a major victory for North Carolina women and sends a message to lawmakers across the country:  it is unconstitutional for politicians to interfere in a woman’s personal medical decisions.   This dangerous law would have required abortion providers to perform an ultrasound and place the image in the woman’s line of sight — even if she asks not to view it.  The provider would then be required to describe the image in detail — even over the woman’s objection.  It made no exceptions for women under any circumstances, including cases of rape, incest, or those who receive a tragic diagnosis during pregnancy.

“Over the last three years, we’ve seen a record number of bills introduced, passed, and signed into law that either cut off a woman from access to safe, legal abortion outright, or insert politics directly into doctors’ offices. Planned Parenthood has fought these unconstitutional laws that have nothing to do with protecting women or promoting health care every step of the way — from the state house to the court house. 

“But it is time for leaders who value women’s health and well-being.  This year, Planned Parenthood Action Fund and Planned Parenthood Votes will be working to change the face of leadership in key states in order to ensure that politicians don’t interfere with women’s access to health care.”


ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND:

The North Carolina mandatory ultrasound law, which the General Assembly passed in 2011 over the veto of then-Governor Bev Perdue, is one of the cruelest such measures ever passed in the country.  It would require abortion providers to perform an ultrasound and place the ultrasound screen in the woman’s view, even over her objection.

  • While the law would allow the woman to “avert her eyes” from the ultrasound screen and to “refuse to hear” the explanation of the images, the provider would still be required to place the images in front of her and describe them in detail over her objection. 
  • This law would force women in heartbreaking situations to cover their ears or be forced to listen to state-mandated information that is designed to change a woman’s mind.
  • As the court recognized, the North Carolina law makes no exceptions for women under any circumstances.  This means the law would have applied to: a victim of rape, a woman whose doctor determines that the woman would suffer serious, long-lasting health problems if she carried the pregnancy to term, or a woman whose doctor determines that the fetus has severe abnormalities.
  • The court previously preliminarily enjoined the law back in 2011, preventing it from ever taking effect. 

A similar law was struck down by the Oklahoma State Supreme Court.

In Texas, where a similar law has taken effect, the writer Carolyn Jones explained the torment it caused her:  “What good is a law that adds only pain and difficulty to perhaps the most painful and difficult decision a woman can make? Shouldn’t women have a right to protect themselves from strangers’ opinions on their most personal matters?”

Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina and Planned Parenthood Health Systems are represented in the case Stuart v. Huff by attorneys from Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the ACLU of North Carolina. 

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Planned Parenthood Action Fund is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit membership organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The Action Fund engages in educational and electoral activity, including voter education, grassroots organizing, and legislative advocacy.

2013 was a year of ups and downs in North Carolina, especially for Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina. Here’s a look back on the year 2013 and all the people that made it happen!

The Top Pro-Choice Heroes of 2013

Our amazing CEO Janet Colm is listed as one of the top pro-choice heroes of 2013 by RH Reality Check for her part in the Moral Monday protests! Janet had attended earlier protests but made the decision to participate in civil disobedience when the NC legislature made their sneak attack against women’s health in the#MotorcycleVagina bill.

Check out the article to read more about Janet as well as our other NC pro-choice heroes like Reverend William Barber and Madison Kimrey. And, of course, thanks to all our supporters who are ALL pro-choice heroes to us! 

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Meet Brigid Grabert! Brigid is a graduate of the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health’s Department of Health Policy and Management and the UNC School of Law. Brigid first became involved with Planned Parenthood while she was an undergraduate where she spent a semester abroad in Cape Town, South Africa and led sexual health and HIV education sessions at a Planned Parenthood youth clinic. Since then, she’s volunteered in the U.S. at Planned Parenthood Health Systems in Charlotte and at PPCNC in Chapel Hill and Durham.  She currently serves as a volunteer within PPCNC’s Development department, helping with events such as Choice Affairs and our 30th Anniversary Celebration.

Read about her experiences volunteering with Planned Parenthood below!

  • What experiences led you to become an advocate for women’s health?

My plan was to work in bioethics after graduation, with a specific focus on how religion and morality shape our cultural perception of sexuality and reproductive health. This interest led to research about women and HIV in sub-Saharan Africa, and something just clicked. I decided to study abroad in South Africa and do an internship with Planned Parenthood Association of South Africa (PPASA). I worked in a youth clinic in Khayelitsha Township about 40 minutes outside of Cape Town. It was completely overwhelming and amazing, and the experience irrevocably altered the course of my life and redefined and focused my goals. I did HIV and STI counseling, provided contraception, and attempted to extol the virtues of condom usage (my teenage audience was dishearteningly deaf on this issue). I also did an independent research project on the link between gender-based violence and HIV transmission in black South African youth. (South Africa in general, and Khayelitsha in particular, has one of the highest rape incidences in the world. And this is with an approximately 20% HIV prevalence rate. It’s truly horrifying.) After working with those young women and men in South Africa, I can’t imagine not being a women’s health advocate.

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  • How did the international work that you did with Planned Parenthood Global as an undergraduate influence your advocacy work back here in the States?

Working abroad made me realize the impact of my work on real people. My international experience underscored the importance of knowing the personal side of women’s health. Appealing to morality and other abstract concepts in policy isn’t as powerful without confronting the women and girls behind these policies: their faces and their stories. I’ve kept that lesson in mind ever since leaving South Africa. Women’s health is personal.

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