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Moral Monday takes aim at N.C. abortion bill
Latest capitol rally slams legislation
 
Published Wednesday, July 10, 2013 10:47 am
by Latisha Catchatoorian, The Triangle Tribune

RALEIGH – Christian Faith Baptist Church had a packed congregation as Rev. William J. Barber spoke to the crowd. Yet this was not a Sunday sermon but a Moral Monday call to action.

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TRIANGLE TRIBUNE/LATISHA CATCHATOORIAN
Protesters gathered outside the N.C. capitol in Raleigh for a Moral Monday rally against House Bill 695, which opponents contend would close all but one abortion clinic in the state.


Supporters came together with Barber, president of the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP and Melissa Reed, vice president of public affairs for Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina, to protest House Bill 695. Opponents contend the bill threatens to close all but one abortion clinic in the state, prohibit insurance companies from offering policies with abortion coverage, and criminalize doctors who provide such treatment.


Both groups made it clear that this bill was violation of women’s rights.


“We might be tired of foolishness but we aren’t tired of marching,” said Rev. Barber. “Too many people died and cried to get where we are.”


During a news conference at Christian Faith Baptist, Barber addressed reproductive rights and government policies that affect North Carolina’s poor. Planned Parenthood officials emphasized HB 695 was not the only legislation they were protesting.


“We have been here for every Moral Monday,” Reed said.


“The numbers are telling us that policy has real consequences,” Barber said. “Moral Mondays are for people who believe in injustice.”


Kojo Nantambu, president of Charlotte-Mecklenburg NAACP, said the civil rights organization has been an advocate for the powerless.
“We aren’t doing this for fame or fortune, we are doing this because of desperation,” he said.


Nantambu stressed that if the people suffer, the state does as well. He said people are just asking for money that they themselves put into the federal government through tax payments.


“There is a resurgence of oppression and the wealthy are taking advantage of the poor,” he said.  “It is comparable to fighting for rights of education, voting, and equality of all people.”


Protestors gathered on Halifax Mall behind the General Assembly building in downtown Raleigh to rally the bill. Sixty-five participants were arrested and jailed by the end of the day.


“The sneak-attack bill is going to make safe and legal abortion less accessible to women,” said Paige Johnson, 47, from Hurdle Mills, N.C. “It’s happened in states across the country. It’s why they snuck it through last week during a holiday so no one was watching. But we were.”


Adrienne Lentz-Smith, 39, said that as a woman and a mother that this day was a day of protest but also a day of hope.


“I am appalled and disturbed at the laws the legislature has passed, their ignorance both of health and well-being,” said Lentz-Smith, who lives in Durham. “As a mother I am grateful that I had the ability to make decisions about my family and when I would have it. I am also worried about what happens when my child is old enough to go to school and what sort of public education system is going to be there for him.”


Lentz-Smith said that to be present as a black woman during the resurgence of the NAACP is inspiring.  She said it is also a sobering reminder that it is always necessary, that whatever advances are made, that people step forward on issues of wellbeing and rights.


The crowd was thick.  The heat did not deter the group from swelling as onlookers in pink and purple stood with homemade signs and hummed in unison as words of disapproval were uttered.


Thousands turned out but the crowd was not only full of women. Men were in attendance to protest as well.


Demonte Alford, 21, was present on behalf of the youth and college division of the NAACP for North Carolina. Alford, who grew up in the NAACP, was childhood friends with Barber’s son.


“I’m a student, I’m an African-American male, and I’m a North Carolinian,” Alford said. “So it means everything to me. Everything that has been happening is a direct attack on people with like-minded ideas.”


Alford said that good, honest, hardworking people are being affected.


“Five hundred thousand people are being denied health care, one in five children is poor in this state, 1.7 million people live in poverty,” he said. “This is an extreme problem.  We should be working on jobs and empowerment for the people who are underprivileged instead of cutting abortion rights, or voting rights or rushing bills at midnight.”


According to statistics stated by Melissa Reed at the news conference, 66 percent of eligible voters in North Carolina are women without photo identification. Over 30,000 women lost unemployment benefits last week when the state disqualified itself from the federal Unemployment Compensation Program.


In a recent poll, North Carolina was voted as one of the top 10 worst states to grow up in as a woman. Women make up 54 percent of North Carolina voters.


“Now you have touched the woman,” said the Rev. Mark Thompson, host of the SiriusXM daily radio show “Make It Plain,” quoting a popular salute to women during the apartheid era in South Africa. “You have struck a rock.”

Comments

I wished this talked more about the actual abortion bill. This article jumped around to so many other topics. That being said, there's a direct attack on women esp in NC and Texas. I guess when women aren't allowed to vote anymore then people will care. Also, I find it interesting that there's a defund Planned Parenthood ad at the top of this page???????? Why??
Posted on July 11, 2013
 

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