No Matter What – Abortion Access Month 2013

NCWU board member

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and PPCNC staff Heather Williams authored the below post to raise awareness of the Global Day Action for Safe and Legal Abortion Access (every September 28). While the vast majority of unsafe abortion happens where the procedure is illegal, we must remember that increasing the shame and stigma around legal abortion can push more and more women into unsafe situations. Cross-posted at PP Action Fund CNC tumbler No Matter What.

 

What does abortion access look like in a state where women are now denied abortion coverage in the new health care marketplace, even if they use their own money to purchase these health plans? What does access look like when arbitrary and medically unnecessary requirements are placed on doctors and health facilities that provide abortion care? It looks a lot like North Carolina.

September is Abortion Access Month, a time when women’s health advocates come together to urge lawmakers to repeal the Hyde Amendment. It’s often said that without access, there is no choice. In states like North Carolina, it is clear that lawmakers who oppose abortion in all circumstances aim to make abortion even more inaccessible to N.C. women, denying women care to which they have a constitutional right in an effort to skirt abortion’s legal status.

These lawmakers hope to chip away access to safe and legal abortion to the point of non-existence. To achieve their goal, they are willing to have the government dictate how women pay for abortions, the number of abortion providers that are geographically available to women, and medically irrelevant lines of questioning that women must endure once they are in the clinic.

Bills like SB 353 are intended to further stigmatize abortion as something unsafe when this is just not true. Abortion is among thesafest and most common medical procedures and was already among the most regulated even prior to the 2013 legislative session. SB 353 remains a glaring example that Gov. McCrory and leadership in the state House and Senate enacted the bill to further insert politicians where they should never be: between a woman and her doctor.

What these lawmakers fail to realize is that these restrictions do not reduce the need for abortion Instead, these restrictions placeundue burdens that could lead to women to seek unsafe abortions. Women will always need compassionate, nonjudgmental abortion care, whether Gov. McCrory and others like him agree with it or not.

So what can women’s health advocates do in the wake of dangerous bills like SB 353?

Get involved and keep the conversation going by becoming a volunteer. Planned Parenthood volunteers help to educate and lift up important issues around women’s health, none more critical than safe and legal abortion access. Volunteers are an important part of creating constant dialogue across North Carolina in support of women’s health.

Don’t let the conversation about abortion access in North Carolina fade- take action to continue to hold lawmakers who oppose a woman’s right to make personal, private health care decisions accountable and make abortion care in North Carolina accessible for all women. No matter what.