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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.


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.

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
Melissa Reed, Vice President for Public Policy
                919-833-7534, ext. 6144
                Raleigh, NC

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.

# # #

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.


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


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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Contact: Planned Parenthood media office,, 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.”


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. 


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! 


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.


  • 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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For the next 6 months PPCNC will have Community Education interns in all of our health centers and in the community educating our patients and community members about what the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, is, how it can help them or their families, and helping them to enroll! We’ll hear from each of our interns every month as they share their experiences.

And here is our first one! Kathryn Mayo is a recent graduate from Appalachian State University, and one of our six Community Education interns. Read her blog post below!

I moved to Fayetteville at the end of this past summer for my husband’s schooling. While looking for a job, I knew I needed something to occupy my time, so I went to my local Planned Parenthood and offered my services as a volunteer. As I began to volunteer, doing phone calls and door to door canvassing, my local field organizer informed me of a community education internship that would be starting soon. I applied for it, and I was so happy to be chosen as one of the six interns!

This internship is focused around enrolling Planned Parenthood’s patients and members of the surrounding community into insurance plans, now made available through the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, or the ACA. I must admit, before volunteering with Planned Parenthood, I did not know much about Obamacare except that it allowed me to stay on my parent’s health insurance for a bit longer. Through my training, I learned the specifics. The ACA bans insurance companies from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, it helps put an end to women having higher premiums just because they are women, it makes most birth control and all well-woman visits to be available for free. - All these things will help so many people!


The biggest reason for my passion about the Affordable Care Act, however, came from my experiences with people I spoke to in person. My first day volunteering, I went door to door to talk to my community about the ACA. While canvassing, I came across a woman who already had health insurance, but told me repeatedly what a service I was doing for  the community and how much she and her family supported both Planned Parenthood and the Affordable Care Act. Every subsequent time I have gone canvassing, I have met someone who, although they may already have health insurance, has a child,neighbor or relative who does not, and they are eager for us to help them sign up!

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Well hi there! Welcome to our latest adventure in the digital world: the brand new Planned Parenthood Action Tumblr! We’re excited to share some of our favorite things with you—from the latest victories on women’s health to our efforts fighting bad legislation, from how Obamacare works to why birth control rocks, from feminism to pop culture, and everything in between. But best of all, we can’t wait to hear from YOU. Every day, we hear and see amazing stories from the folks who are standing up for women’s health all over the country—how they’ve benefited from access to health care, why they’re in this fight, who inspires them, and what progress means to them. We have the best, most inspiring, and most indomitable supporters in the whole world, and we love you back.So check out our Tumblr, follow us, and share with us. We’re thrilled to be here!


Well hi there! Welcome to our latest adventure in the digital world: the brand new Planned Parenthood Action Tumblr! 

We’re excited to share some of our favorite things with you—from the latest victories on women’s health to our efforts fighting bad legislation, from how Obamacare works to why birth control rocks, from feminism to pop culture, and everything in between.
But best of all, we can’t wait to hear from YOU. Every day, we hear and see amazing stories from the folks who are standing up for women’s health all over the country—how they’ve benefited from access to health care, why they’re in this fight, who inspires them, and what progress means to them. We have the best, most inspiring, and most indomitable supporters in the whole world, and we love you back.

So check out our Tumblr, follow us, and share with us. We’re thrilled to be here!

Source: ppaction