The NCGA is shaming North Carolina
TO THE EDITOR:
If you are a North Carolinian and you’re not furious right now, then you must not be paying attention. Our prestige and reputation as the progressive “Beacon of the South” are under attack — and it’s making (embarrassing) international news.
This isn’t a partisan issue, it’s a human rights issue.
HB 695, the Sharia law legislation-turned “abortion bill” making its stumbling way through the N.C. General Assembly at the moment is just the latest in a long list of recent restrictive, extreme conservative measures taken by our legislature.
Under the deceptively idyllic name, “The Family, Faith, and Freedom Protection Act,” the proposed HB 695 would not only curtail abortion services, but shut the doors on (by most estimates) all but one women’s health clinic in North Carolina — the same clinics that provide myriad health services to underprivileged, low-income individuals of all genders and sexualities who may not be able to find or afford that critical aid elsewhere, or those like us on a college budget and a college schedule looking for affordable, nonjudgmental contraception and care.
SB 353 is the latest clumsy, impromptu effort to push abortion restrictions through the legislature, this time tacked on to the “Motorcycle Safety Bill” (10 points to whoever figures out how these are even loosely related). The bill was voted forward by social conservatives in the House subcommittee Wednesday morning.
HB 695 and SB 353 join SB 132, a bill that mandates middle school teachers tell their students that a “mutually faithful monogamous heterosexual relationship in the context of marriage” — and don’t you dare have sex until then — is the only way to go.
This glorified slut-shaming bill not only provides false information (like presenting marriage, a social institution, as a viable means of birth control, a biological issue) but also silences and ignores those who are unwilling or unable to follow those rules (that’s about 90 percent of currently married straight Americans according to the CDC; the number grows when you include LGBTQ individuals and those who are unmarried).
The actions taken by our legislators speak volumes about the value they place on women’s (and LGBTQ) health and bodies and are a transparent effort to restrict the rights of the public.
North Carolina legislators, it’s time to get your sh-t together. Representing the people isn’t some new, “radical” idea: it’s your job.
Yesterday and every week at Halifax Mall, hundreds of social justice advocates gather to demand their voices be heard. We’re not going to stop until North Carolina is a state we can be proud of again, so stay informed, y’all — we’ve got a lot of work to do.
Mary Koenig ’14
Nicole Welsh ’14