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Elections & Politics

Planned Parenthood Advocacy and Political Groups Launch Volunteer Voter Engagement & Organizing Effort in Raleigh; Part of Historic Women Are Watching Campaign

Contact: Planned Parenthood Action Fund Media Office, 212-261-4433

For Immediate Release: 06.23.14

Raleigh, NC — Supporters of women’s health and rights gathered in Raleigh Saturday afternoon to discuss the role that issues including birth control, funding for women’s preventive care, and safe and legal abortion will play in the upcoming election and the critical role that Planned Parenthood advocacy and political organizations’ volunteers will play in educating and mobilizing women to get out the vote. The event was organized by Planned Parenthood Votes and the Planned Parenthood Health Systems Action Fund, as part of the Women are Watching campaign.  

“Over the last several years, the women and families of North Carolina have weathered a long list of attacks on their health and rights pushed forward by a small yet vocal group of politicians that are dead set on imposing their personal beliefs about abortion and birth control on everyone else in our state,” said Melissa Reed, vice president for public affairs, Planned Parenthood Health Systems Action Fund.

“Our message to these politicians is clear: women are watching and we’ve had enough. That’s why we’ve launched a multi-layered education and outreach effort in North Carolina to ensure that women and their families know exactly where the candidates stand on issues that affect women’s health and rights. With the aid of our dedicated supporters and volunteers across the state, many of whom joined us this weekend in Raleigh, we’ll be talking to voters where they are — at their doors, on the phone and at events across the state about the high stakes for women’s health this November.

“We know that Planned Parenthood advocacy and political organizations are a trusted source of information and that women listen to us when we speak out to them about issues that affect their health and rights. We know what it takes to win, and we’re in it for the long run. Women are watching in North Carolina, and they don’t like what they see. Now it is time for us to call on these women to elect candidates who will fight for them,” continued Reed.

There is a clear contrast between Thom Tillis and Senator Kay Hagan when it comes to women’s health and rights. From helping to pass one of the toughest voter ID laws in the country to referring to the Moral Monday protests as “whining coming from losers,” Thom Tillis and his allies are using dirty tactics to shut North Carolinians out of the political process. This election is a choice between the out-of-touch views of extreme politicians — and the values of Senator Kay Hagan and thousands of North Carolinians who are fighting to take back the state they know and love.

BACKGROUND:

Tillis wants to outlaw safe and legal abortion.

  • As Speaker of the House, he led the charge to pass the deeply unpopular “Motorcycle Vagina bill,” a package of dangerous abortion restrictions that was inserted into an unrelated bill dealing with motorcycle safety.  The law could dramatically restrict the number of health centers that provide abortion in North Carolina.
  • An April poll from Elon University shows that in the wake of last summer’s attack spearheaded by Tillis, more people (44 percent) feel that state laws should make access to abortion less difficult compared with the 40 percent who said access should be made more difficult.  Views have shifted most notably among women since a poll in September 2013; then, women were almost evenly split on the issue, whereas in April more women want fewer restrictions on abortion.
  • Polls show 80 percent of North Carolina voters thought it was inappropriate to tuck abortion restrictions into a motorcycle safety bill, which was championed by Tillis; and they also soured on Governor Pat McCrory, who broke his campaign promise not to enact further restrictions on abortion.
  • Tillis helped lead the charge to pass one of the most extreme, medically unnecessary mandatory ultrasound bills in the country — a measure designed to shame and judge women seeking an abortion.  He called it “unfortunate” when then-Governor Bev Perdue vetoed the bill.  The legislation was struck down in federal court, all while costing the taxpayers money in litigation costs. 

Tillis believes the state has the right to ban birth control and opposes North Carolina women’s access to no-copay birth control. 

  • He supports so-called “personhood” amendments that could interfere with personal medical decisions about birth control, access to fertility treatment, management of a miscarriage, and access to safe and legal abortion if enacted.
  • He opposes the Affordable Care Act, which has historic benefits for women — including access to no-copay birth control.  Without the ACA, insurance companies could once again charge women more for their coverage and deny coverage for “pre-existing conditions” such as pregnancy. 

Tillis voted multiple times to cut off North Carolina women from Planned Parenthood’s preventive health services, including affordable birth control and lifesaving cancer screenings.

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Planned Parenthood Action Fund is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit membership organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The Action Fund engages in educational and electoral activity, including voter education, grassroots organizing, and legislative advocacy.