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NC House attempts to ban Planned Parenthood from the state budget again

The NC General Assembly hasn’t even been in session for two weeks yet but it didn’t take long for extremist legislators to revisit the same old tactics they adopted last year in a desperate, politically-motivated attack on Planned Parenthood.

Last year, anti-women’s health legislators set about defunding Planned Parenthood by specifically banning (not cutting!) us by name in the state budget. When the federal courts called foul and ordered a temporary injunction to get funds flowing back into Planned Parenthood’s preventative health care services these legislators were stuck figuring out how to achieve their goal in a different way.

New Hanover County Commissioners (Unofficially) win race to the bottom on women’s health

At the national level the Republican Party has spent the last month or so in an incredible “race to the bottom” on women’s health care. Apparently they believe that attacking women’s access to birth control is a smart tactic to win elections. But considering that 99% of women will use some form of birth control at some point in their lives, you really have to wonder who’s advising these politicians.

We’ll add that to the long list of questions we have for the New Hanover County Commissioners today. Just this week the all-male Board of County Commissioners voted to reject a state grant in the amount of $8,899 that would “provide medical services related to family planning including physician’s consultation, examination, prescription, continuing supervision, laboratory examination and contraceptive supplies.” Congratulations New Hanover County Commissioners! You win the blue ribbon in the race to the bottom on women’s health!

Driven to distraction

All you have to do is look at today’s front-page story in the N&O to know that North Carolina faces some pretty hefty challenges. Hurricane Irene destroyed more than 1,100 homes and damage from the storm has reached $71 million and still climbing.

The same front page details how today is the final day of a federal program to help laid-off workers pay for health insurance while looking for work. With an unemployment rate topping 10%, this news will undoubtedly make worse the situation facing so many North Carolinians.

And yet, tucked in the Triangle section, aptly under political news is the headline, “GOP pushes same-sex marriage amendment.” That’s right. According to our new legislative majority, altering our state’s Constitution to deny couples the right to make a lifelong commitment to each other is pressing business.

Foolish attack on women's health

Who could possibly believe that denying women breast exams and cancer screenings is working to improve life in North Carolina? Yet, as out of touch as it seems, that is exactly what will happen if North Carolina’s new House majority gets the budget they’ve proposed.

Thom Tillis: I'm not a doctor, but I play one in the legislature

NC Speaker-elect Thom Tillis has gotten a lot of media coverage lately talking about his plans to reduce abortion when he takes control of the NC House today.

Just to be clear, when he says, “reduce abortions”, he is not talking about reducing unintended pregnancies—the number one reason why women have abortions in the first place. He’s definitely not talking about greater access to birth control, comprehensive sex education or preventive healthcare in general—all proven ways of reducing unwanted pregnancies.

Instead, Speaker-elect Tillis says he’s going to reduce abortions through “informed consent,” which strikes me as odd.

Most health providers I know view “informed consent” as an ethical way of providing patients with unbiased, non-directive information so that the patient can make her own choice about a particular medical procedure.

If Speaker-elect Tillis and his new majority think they are going to reduce abortion through informed consent then perhaps they are talking about a different kind of “informed consent” than what most of us receive when we go to see our doctor.

What does Speaker Tillis mean for reproductive freedom?

Cross-posted from Planned Parenthood of Central NC's blog, Choice 2.0.

Not even a month after the election, we’re getting closer to seeing exactly what that picture will look like when the Legislature convenes in January. In a (only slightly) surprising move yesterday, House Republicans voted Mecklenburg County legislator Thom Tillis as Speaker of the House.

This represents a surprising move in that Tillis beat out Minority Leader Skip Stam having held office for only four years. The not-so-surprising part is that he won his place as Speaker after having been credited with masterminding the Republican takeover of the General Assembly. First runner-up Stam was voted Majority Leader.

Wondering if our new majority really means what it says

Right before Election 2010, Republican leaders issued a list of eight priorities they promised to enact if they won control of the NC House. The wish-list ranged from specifics, like passing legislation to carve North Carolina out of healthcare reform—as several states have already done—to the more amorphous restoring of integrity.

High on the list was protecting private property. In fact, one day after winning the majority, Rep. Paul Stam claimed that House Republicans would pass an eminent domain bill in the first week of the 2011 Session.

Welcome to NC's new small (big in your bedroom) government

“We’re a centrist state. We’re a small government, we’re a limited-government, free-market, stay-out of my-personal-life electorate.” So declared Republican NC Representative Tom Tillis, the mastermind strategist behind the Republican take over of the NC House on WUNC this morning.

Really. I wonder what soon-to-be Republican Speaker Paul Stam thinks about the “stay-out-of-my-personal-life-electorate.” I can’t say that he’s ever been a fan. Well, at least as far as the female portion of the electorate is concerned.

Read the rest of the story on our blog, Choice 2.0.

Too hot to handle it

There are a lot of things I don’t get about the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. One thing for sure is when soldiers claim they’d be uncomfortable serving with gay men because they don’t want guys looking at them “in that way.” To me, this just begs the question, “Do you think you’re so hot that everyone you meet is bound to look at you ‘in that way’?”

No more Obama bashing

I’ve done my share of Obama bashing. He has driven me nuts in his total unwillingness to protect and defend reproductive freedom—a core value to his political base. But, enough is enough.

The alternative, my friend, is sheer insanity. Just check out the winner of last night’s Republican primary in Delaware to see for yourself.

Obama is far from perfect but he has delivered and it’s time we amplify his wins, especially for women.

Before Palin’s mama grizzlies, I always thought of myself as a mama bear when defending my young. So, I’ll match her grizzlies any day with my North Carolina black bear mama self and tell you why as a mother I am thankful to President Obama for health care reform.

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