Can we just talk about the bullshit that is happening in North Carolina right now?
So, the anti-choice shenanigans that are afoot in Texas right now are getting a metric fuck-ton of national media coverage - which is awesome. For me, seeing women's rights struggles profiled in the media makes me hopeful that someone is actually paying attention and that we aren't simply screaming into the void. But here's the thing, I'm not doing my screaming in Texas, I'm screaming in North Carolina. And we're currently facing essentially the exact same battle that the women of Texas are facing - so can we just talk about this bullshit that is happening in my back yard for a minute? Please?
Quick updates for those of you who haven't been following the shit show that is HB 695:
- At 6 p.m. on July 2nd NC Senators introduced and pushed through HB 695, a bill that would change the requirements for abortion clinics to remain open in the state so drastically that all but one of the clinics in the North Carolina would be forced to close their doors. They introduced the bill at the last minute, without prior notice to the public, on the day before a national holiday (btw: they call it the Family, Faith, and Freedom Protection Act. WTF?). They clearly thought that they could push this bill through while no one was watching. The next day thousands of protesters descended on the legislative building to protest. They passed it anyway.
- Enter the House: HB 695 was transferred to the house committee on health and human serviced who had a committee meeting this morning at 9:00 am to discuss the bill. I was there, as were hundreds of other pro-choice, women's health advocates. We sat quietly, we followed their rules, we made our voices heard - I was feeling hopeful! But then, oh God y'all, THEN, after the committee hearing was over and we'd all gone home we got word that HB 695 was never actually transferred from the Senate to the House committee - meaning that the committee never actually had the authority to take a vote on HB695, much less to make any amendments! Essentially the meeting at which we were allowed to make our voices heard was a complete fucking sham.
- The bill is now being fast-tracked from the Senate to the House and could be voted on as early as tomorrow afternoon.
All of this is happening within the context of a growing unrest and growing mobilization of the progressive community in North Carolina. You may have heard about our Moral Monday protests, held here in Raleigh every week. The New York Times has written about them, as well as being covered in a few other national news sources. Every week thousands of people protest for progressive policies, every week hundreds are arrested, and every week legislators ignore us and continue to introduce and pass backwards, short-sighted legislation.
And y'all, I am exhausted and so angry. I can't even. This is day three of essentially constant protesting. We will, of course, be there in force in the gallery tomorrow afternoon, but I'm running on fumes at this point. Rage burnout is starting to set in. Send your thoughts, fist-bumps, good vibes, and virtual high fives as we'll need them in droves.
If you want to follow along tomorrow, WRAL (our local news here in Raleigh) will be doing a live stream.
And if you want more background on the bill - Here's a great account of the strange, twisted path that brought us the patchwork of xenophobia and misogyny that is HB 695. Enjoy.
Note: most of the images are either my own or my friends. However, one is from the Independent Weekly.