Tomorrow, on February 8, thousands of people upset and disappointed by the extreme right turn North Carolina has taken in the past legislative session will gather in downtown Raleigh to march for a new beginning.
In the last year, North Carolina became a flashpoint for using deeply unpopular political tactics to fast-track separate but sweeping legislation to curtail access to safe and legal abortion and voting rights. While the impact of restricting reproductive health care on women was immediately clear, research later found women in the state are also disproportionately affected by the voting restrictions passed last year.
Together, these two laws threaten to seriously reverse progress by women in the past several years to participate fully in North Carolina’s social, economic and political life. Women in North Carolina have had enough with the extreme and out-of-touch policies being pushed forward. We’re angry about the North Carolina General Assembly refusing to expand Medicaid to 500,000 North Carolinians, establishing extreme restrictions on voting rights, and cutting teacher pay, along with a whole host of other issues. And we’re going to do something about it.
We will be gathering by the thousands for a “Moral March” on Raleigh, riding on the heels of the Moral Monday movement that started this past summer in the capital (and has since spread all over the state).
Planned Parenthood will be marching with the North Carolina NAACP and more than 150 local and national coalition partners, in an effort to send a message: the extreme shift to the right by our state leaders is not going unnoticed. We will be marching to protect a woman’s right to make deeply personal health decisions and to participate fully in the state’s democracy.
As the CEO of Planned Parenthood North Carolina, Janet Colm (who was arrested for defending women’s health at a peaceful Moral Monday protest), said, “We march to protect the right of every woman in North Carolina to make deeply personal and often complex decisions about her pregnancy without politicians in Raleigh subjecting her to laws intended to shame and judge her.
“We march to make clear we will not go back to a time when access to safe and legal health care and the power to exercise your fundamental American rights in the voting booth were rights reserved for the few instead of the many.”