Shortly after midnight last night, North Carolina became the third state to ban Planned Parenthood from receiving state or federal funds when a Republican minority and five turncoat Democrats in the General Assembly overrode Governor Bev Perdue's veto of their budget. The Senate still has to vote, but since they have a strong Republican majority, it will almost certainly pass there. As a result, thousands of women across the state are at risk of losing access to their only source of healthcare and family planning services.
I am one of them. Fortunately, my birth control renewal (I buy three months at a time because it's cheaper) happened a month ago, and I therefore have enough nuva rings to last me until I start school in August. Hopefully, the school health clinic will offer my birth control at prices comparable to Planned Parenthood's, and I won't have to worry about getting knocked up and coming up with the cash to cover an abortion (perhaps I could bill the General Assembly). There are many, many other women out there who aren't so fortunate. Like me, they make too much money to qualify for Medicaid, but work at jobs that don't provide insurance (or, in my case, have insurance policies that are so expensive that employees are unable to use them) and don't pay well enough to allow them to purchase private full coverage. Planned Parenthood is an invaluable resource for us, and these cuts could result in a loss or interruption of services.
Planned Parenthood has promised to challenge this in court. While I'm certain they'll win, given the smackdown that Indiana just received at the hands of Health and Human Services and Obama's (frankly shocking, given the way he threw abortion rights under the bus during the health care reform debate) pledged support of Planned Parenthood, a legal battle will cost both the organization and the state of North Carolina money that could be better spent elsewhere. Every dollar that Planned Parenthood spends defending itself against right-wing attack legislation is a dollar they could be spending doing something that no anti-choice politician has ever done: preventing unwanted pregnancies (and abortions!) by educating and providing contraceptives to the population. North Carolina's money would be far better spent addressing certain important educational and employment issues facing the state, but apparently anti-choice grandstanding is more important to state Republicans than addressing our almost 10% unemployment rate and moving our schools out of competition with Tennessee and Mississippi for "Worst Schools in the Entire Country."
It's worth mentioning that the budget in question also made dramatic cuts to education.
If you're in Asheville, there's going to be a rally against this action on July 4th, 11 AM - 1 PM at the Vance monument downtown. I may or may not be there due to my job, but I'll try to make it if possible. There's a facebook event page here.