As SB 353, the North Carolina motorcycle safety bill that was amended to include abortion restrictions, awaits review in the senate rules committee, Republican supporters of the bill, including Gov. Pat McCrory, are seeing increasing disapproval among both health-care organizations and voters in the state.
Eighty percent of North Carolinians polled recently said they disapprove of the GOP’s move to add anti-abortion restrictions into the motorcycle safety bill. Meanwhile, the governor’s approval rating has dropped by 15 points since June, and more people now disapprove than approve of the job he is doing in office. The state legislature is seeing just as much disapproval, especially compared with Moral Mondays, the weekly protest and civil disobedience gathering at the state capitol. When asked in the same poll which they approved of more, the state assembly or Moral Monday protesters, the protesters won 47 to 41.
Meanwhile, the North Carolina Obstetrical and Gynecological Society and the North Carolina Section of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists issued a joint statement opposing SB 353 and HB 695, a house anti-Sharia law bill that included a version of the same abortion restrictions. “Scientific evidence should be central to the legislature’s deliberations on any women’s health care policy, especially when the measures would severely restrict access to necessary women’s health care and related lawful medical services. Passage of these bills, which are not based on science, will have a detrimental effect on the health of women in North Carolina. We strongly urge lawmakers to reject these measures,” the groups said in their statement.
This opposition has not caused Gov. McCrory to second-guess his support for SB 353. Despite his campaign promise to not sign any abortion restrictions into law, the governor has said he will not veto the bill, though he would have vetoed HB 695. McCrory told CNN Tuesday that the rules are just “legal updates” to existing regulations. When asked about his campaign promise, he said he would “absolutely” keep it; “that’s a promise kept,” he said.
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In response to the large Moral Monday protests in the state, members of the North Carolina GOP and the Moccasin Creek Minutemen helped organized a rally of their own, dubbed Thankful Tuesday. While the NAACP and other Moral Monday organizers have focused their protests on new laws that roll back rights for the poor, women, and people of color, Thankful Tuesday was meant to “thank our legislators for the hard work they’ve done,” according to North Carolina GOP Chairman Claude Pope. The rally also featured foam footballs provided by Americans for Prosperity, according to the Charlotte Observer.
The rally reportedly only attracted some 200 participants, compared to the thousands who attended the Moral Monday event 24 hours earlier. While over 100 Moral Monday protesters were arrested for trespassing in the capitol as an act of civil disobedience this week, Thankful Tuesday participants were invited to a reception hosted by Republican legislators.
“I was proud to speak at last week’s Moral Monday to the largest crowd yet. Thousands of North Carolina voters have come out to Moral Monday week after week to stand against the extreme injustice being carried out by the out of touch majority,” Suzanne Buckley, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina, told Rewire. “The North Carolina GOP’s decision to ignore the message of Moral Monday while embracing a handful of folks at Thankful Tuesday only proves how tone-deaf they truly are.”