NC and abortion

By a vote of 29-19, the NC Senate overrode the governor's veto of HB 854, the anti-woman bill which imposes significant limitations on the availability of abortions and makes numerous intrusions in the doctor-patient relationship. A 3/5 vote was necessary to override, and the 29-19 margin just made it.

But wait, aren't there 50 members of the NC Senate? And didn't 20 members of the Senate vote against the bill when it came to vote, meaning it shouldn't have passed? You would be right. Senator Stan Bingham, Republican who represents Davidson and Guilford counties, was the only Republican to vote against the bill when it was originally passed and continued to oppose it up until yesterday. However, in an event which will go down in history as one of the most cowardly acts ever taken by a politician, he absented himself from the Senate today and thereby paved the way for the veto to be overriden by the narrowest margin ever.

I wrote a letter to Senator Bingham which I've reprinted below. It's not the height of political criticism, in large part because I wrote it quickly, in anger:

Senator Bingham, your vote against HB 854 was brave. I'm sure you took some political hits for that. But then, when it came time for your vote to actually make a difference, you took the cowardly way out. I suppose your belief that the bill was wrong an an affront to many thousands of women in North Carolina was not enough to make up for the scorn that you thought you'd get from your fellow Republicans in the state Senate, or the difficulty you would face retaining your seat in the Senate in the next election. 

When New York State Assemblyman George Michaels switched his vote from "no" to "yes" to support his state's abortion bill in 1970, his was the deciding vote and he acknowledged that the vote would end his political career. It did in fact end his political career. That vote was brave and took courage. That was the opposite of what you did today.

My wife is an obstetrician who specializes in high risk pregnancies. Many patients are referred to her because their fetuses are not developing normally. I am sure she's going to be delighted to tell the women who are carrying babies with fatal, non-survivable anomalies that medical assistance benefits are available for prenatal care, that adoption is a possibility, that the father can be forced to help pay child support. She will be thrilled to hand over pictures of the probable gestational stages of a normally developing fetus and do a completely unnecessary ultrasound scan and narration of the fatal anomolies. And of course, the requirement that the patient wait 24 hours will be a joyous one.

I am ashamed of my state, and most of all, I am disappointed in you. I am not a constituent of yours, but I am a resident of this state, and I know that when you had a chance to make a difference, to stand up for your principles, you chose to hide. And there's no undoing this decision.

Very truly yours,

Geoffrey F. Green 



The "War on Women" in NC has been longed planned by the Republicans. Bingham wasn't on board so they took him out of the vote and he agreed. Shame on him. Shame on the NCGA. I know many folks I talk to think this is about religion, but I do not believe that. This is a way for angry white men to hold women back, take away the advantage that they have been gainning for the past 30 years and controlling them by imposing their rules on our bodies. This is all about control and power. Women, like the rest of the country have to stop voting against their best interest. A country without diverse leadership is not a democracy. 

Hi, Penny. I think that the new law requiring a waiting period and so on is outrageous, and I expect that you and I are in agreement about Roe v. Wade as the basis for abortion rights. And we agree that people who vote Republican often unknowingly thwart their own interests.But this is, to a great extent, about religion. Although there is nothing about abortion in the Bible, many conservative Protestants (and, of course, Catholics) believe that abortion is murder; a pre-scientific concept of the soul clouds their understanding. It is also, as you know, a standard part of traditional Christian teaching that women are derivative from and, in the proper order of things, subservient to, men. Many women, as well as men, who accept these beliefs and teachings because of their religion will support this new law, and other atrocities like it. I think it is not accurate to attribute this to the raw misogyny of “angry white men” (why only white men?), and I don’t believe it contributes to constructive debate, or improved understanding across the political divides, to call this a “war against women.” There are people who honestly believe that abortion is murder and, although they are wrong, given this belief what they are doing makes sense to them, and none of that means they hate women or are out to get you. Finally, while I agree that diversity in leadership is important to democracy, it is the beliefs and values of a person that matter here, not their gender. The problem is not that too many legislators are men. There are plenty of women in North Carolina who believe abortion is murder, dinosaurs roamed the Earth along with humans, and Eve was made from Adam's rib to serve him. James Coley

James, you are right, we probably agree on a lot of issues, but this is not about religion. It is about power and stopping women from moving forward. Comprehensive Helth Care for Women was taken away. Abortion is part of that. Abortion is a safe, leagal, medical procedure that should be between a women and her dr. only. No politician should ever, ever tell a women that she needs to view a picture of her rapists fetus. No politician should ever claim to be a dr. and force a women to view a photo of her deformed fetus. No politician should force teenagers into dangerous situations trying to seek medical treatment. If you believe abortion is murder, then you should choose to have your baby, but you don't have the right to tell another women what her choice should be. Separation of Church and State. Roe V. Wade. History of Abortion in the U.S.Abortion has been used to control fertility in every society we know about, regardless of its legality. It was practiced legally in the United States until about 1880, by which time most states had banned it except to save the life of the woman. Anti-abortion legislation was part of a backlash to the growing movements for suffrage and birth control--an effort to control women and confine them to their traditional childbearing role.17 It was also a way for the medical profession to tighten its control over women’s health care.18 Midwives, who performed abortions, were a threat to the male medical establishment. Finally, with the declining birth rate among whites in the late 1800s, the U.S. government and the eugenics movement were concerned about “race suicide” and wanted white U.S.-born women to reproduce. More than most other medical procedures, abortion is linked to women’s status and political power, as well as to the population objectives of the society. Lastly if you don't think the "White Male" angry or not, is not trying to get women out of positions of power, take a look at the new redistricting map. This map compromises women politicians every way possible. 

should read Comprehensive Health Care. 

Hi, Penny. We agree about almost all of what you said in the first two paragraphs in your last post above. But the issue I raised is not about whether women have a right to abortion, or whether this new law is an outrage. We agree about those things.The question I raised is about the motivations of those who support the law. I suppose neither of us have any direct evidence about what goes on in the hearts and minds of the legislators who voted for this new law, or the supporters in the population at large, but I referenced the facts we all know about how religious belief drives the so-called "Pro-Life" movement. At least that's an indication of how one might use evidence and arguments to support one's view. But to merely quote Our Bodies, Ourselves (or any other book, including the Bible) as though it is the authoritative source on issues like these, is just not real conversation. And it suggests, I have to say, a closed-minded and doctrinaire feminism. My problem with that, of course, is that it appears to be closed-minded and doctrinaire, not that it is feminism.As for the last paragraph, I am a white man and I do not support the new districting map, but I do mind (though I'm not angry about it) when someone generalizes like that. Do you really think that even the redistricting is motivated, not by simple partisan politics, but by misogyny?! Frankly, that strikes me as perhaps a paranoid view.I’m willing to make a friendly bet with you that the experts in this matter will confirm that the redistricting does nothing to compromise the seats held by Sue Myrick, Renee Ellmers or Virginia Foxx. If you win, I will reread Our Bodies, Ourselves from cover to cover when the new edition comes out in October. If I win, you (re)read The Myth of Male Power by Warren Farrell. What do you say?James Coley

But then we have to discuss our findings over a nice glass of wine.

Does that last sentence apply to towns too?


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