anti-abortion zealots

NC Republicans seen as "culture warriors"

The Economist takes a look at NC's new ruling class:

A bigger problem for him is that he has come to be seen as a figurehead for an increasingly unpopular state legislature. The 2010 election gave the Republicans enough seats to control the redistricting process, and in 2012 they took full charge of North Carolina’s state government for the first time in a century. The party now enjoys a veto-proof “super-majority” in the General Assembly, which means they can basically pass whatever laws they want.

Unlike the pragmatic conservatives who have long dominated state politics, the Republicans now in charge are culture warriors. Their priorities ensured that Mr McCrory’s first year in office was contentious. The governor found himself passing laws to ban sharia (Islamic law), restrict abortion and introduce strict voter-identification rules, which are being challenged by the federal government.

The Economist makes the same (big) mistake that others have in evaluating the behavior of the Republican-led NCGA: they label the obvious (anti-abortion, VoterID) as a cultural attack, while implying that other acts like flattening the tax rate and cutting various programs are different, and maybe even admirable. But make no mistake, those actions are also part of the culture war, and arguably more devastating. There is no "moderate" side to the GOP machine in this state.

Abortion clinic targeted by GOP closing its doors

When Republicans win, women lose:

Western North Carolina’s only provider of abortion services, Femcare, put its property up for sale last week. And a patient of the Asheville women’s clinic tells Carolina Public Press that she was told by a clinic staffer that it will close soon.

Femcare provides a number of women’s health services outside of abortions. An Asheville woman who said she has been a gynecology patient of the clinic told Carolina Public Press on Friday that when she recently tried to schedule a return visit, she was told that the clinic was closing and taking no new appointments. Carolina Public Press agreed to withhold her name to protect her confidentiality. If Femcare closes and its services aren’t replaced locally, the nearest abortion services in North Carolina that are presently available are in Charlotte.

It appears that Planned Parenthood is stepping up to provide at least some of those lost services:

Details emerge on the GOP's targeting of abortion clinics

Understanding your enemy is critical if you want to defeat them:

In early June, Perrigo asked the department for more information on Femcare’s inspection history, as well as those of abortion clinics in Charlotte, Fayetteville and Wilmington, according to other emails provided by DHHS. A month later, on July 11, an aide to Rep. Sarah Stevens, a Republican from Mount Airy who sponsored the House’s version of the abortion bill, asked DHHS in an email for information on “the types of problems found in the abortion clinics that were not closed” during recent inspections.

A resulting records check at DHHS noted that Femcare hadn’t been cited with any major deficiencies since 2006, the date of the clinic’s last licensure inspection. Small problems had cropped up in other, more limited inspections at the clinic since that date, but they had been quickly rectified, the documents indicate.

A week later, on July 18 and 19, DHHS performed an unannounced inspection at Femcare, setting the stage for the clinic’s suspension.

It's obvious the actions of Republicans in the General Assembly were focused on creating legislation which would bring about the closing of most (if not all) abortion clinics in the state, a direct assault on the rights of women in North Carolina. And it was also obvious the Governor's office tried to get the most mileage out of the subsequent closures, an effort to repair McCrory's image after his flip-flop:

Tillis tries to court the anti-abortion zealotry fringe

Here comes the GOP US Senate Primary crazy train:

Um, you're not running against McCrory, Thom. And if you try to out-crazy Greg Brannon, you won't be running against Kay Hagan, either.

Anti-abortion zealot "advising" NC DHHS

Aldona Wos' gravy train picks up a Tea Party nutjob passenger:

Margaret "Mardy" Peal, 42, started with the department as a senior planner Aug. 12 and will make $95,000 a year, salary records show. She taught at ECU for about three years in the 1990s, was briefly involved in the early stages of the Eastern North Carolina Tea Party and donated $1,250 to McCrory's campaign in 2012.

Peal was also listed in 2010 under her married name, Grubb, as a member of the board of directors for the anti-abortion Carolina Pregnancy Center, which provides "abortion alternatives, post abortion support and abstinence education with the hope of transforming lives through Jesus Christ," according to its Facebook page.

I wonder what Jesus Christ would say about DHHS failing to provide food stamps for thousands of hungry children while paying one of his followers $95,000 per year. Pretty sure he would not be happy about that.

In defense of women's rights

#motorcyclevagina rides on, from my Facebook page:

In the waning days of the last Legislative session, Republicans in the NC General Assembly took a non-controversial bill on motorcycle safety, which had already been through committee and was scheduled for a vote, and proceeded to add several provisions which will place hurdles in the way of women seeking an abortion, including the likely closure of several women's health centers.

There is one simple reason for this action: the Republicans pursuing this attack on women's rights lack the courage to present their archaic beliefs in an open and honest fashion. They lack the courage to expose their weaknesses to an enlightened society, and try to explain to women why they should be treated like children. Or chattel.

Durham abortion clinic permanently closed

The GOP's war on women takes another casualty:

The Department of Health and Human Services found health code violations this summer at two North Carolina clinics that provide abortions. Now, one of them has closed for good, while the other has re-opened.

Durham’s Baker Clinic for Women has voluntarily surrendered its license after being shuttered by the DHHS in July for a quality control on blood banking.

This may be the first to permanently close, but it probably won't be the last.

The nation is watching NC's slide backwards

Front page of the New York Times:

The Republicans not only cut taxes and business regulations, as many had expected, but also allowed stricter regulations on abortion clinics, ended teacher tenure, blocked the expansion of Medicaid, cut unemployment benefits, removed obstacles to the death penalty, allowed concealed guns in bars and restaurants, and mandated the teaching of cursive writing. In an interview, Mr. McCrory said that critics had obscured what he called a pragmatic and fiscally responsible agenda. “It’s a combination of people on the two extremes wanting to bring up and exaggerate controversial issues,” he said, adding that he had pushed back against earlier versions of the abortion and tax bills, and was planning to veto other bills this week.

It will be interesting to see if he follows through on the Veto "plan", and which insubstantial bills will be the sacrificial possums. More on these alleged Vetoes from the Washington Post:

Death by a thousand cuts: how to TRAP women's rights

Keep your pink shirt handy, because it looks like we'll need to be even more vigilant than before:

"What we typically see is that abortion opponents are really active and in charge of the process," said Elizabeth Nash, the state issues manager at the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health think tank that supports abortion rights but whose research is respected by both sides. She said North Carolinians should expect that process to include a comment period, much back and forth between various governmental bodies, and probably public hearings. Nash said in Virginia, the clinic regulation process turned out to be very political. "It was not based on medical evidence," said Nash, "and was really about making it incredibly hard to open and operate an abortion clinic."

Not only do we need to keep an eye on how regulations will be developed, we also need to be prepared to fight future bills by looking at what stunts Republicans in other states have pulled:

DHHS closes another abortion clinic

And this is the only one that would have remained open under the original bill:

Wednesday’s action against Asheville’s Femcare came after similar sanctions earlier this year against clinics in Charlotte and Durham. Each of those closings came under current health laws. The new law, among other things, calls for DHHS to draw new standards for abortion clinics. Under an earlier version of the bill – which McCrory threatened to veto – Femcare would have been the only clinic to meet the more stringent standards.

This is not a coincidence, and it's not evidence that abortion clinics are "more dangerous" than other health care facilities. But it is evidence that Aldona Wos is mismanaging her resources in order to achieve a political agenda:

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