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BYH, some see the glass as half empty. I say just get a smaller glass and quit complaining....

Never accept extreme abortion laws as the norm

Abortion Regulations Lawsuits-4

FILE - In this April 17, 2019, file photo, Bianca Cameron-Schwiesow, from left, Kari Crowe and Margeaux Hartline, dressed as handmaids, protest against a bill banning nearly all abortions at the Alabama State House in Montgomery, Ala. As abortion opponents cheer the passage of fetal heartbeat laws and other restrictions on the procedure, abortion-rights groups have been waging a quieter battle in courthouses around the country to overturn limits on providers. (Mickey Welsh/The Montgomery Advertiser via AP, File)

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Sunday, May 19, 2019

All eyes were on Alabama on Tuesday as the State Senate debated then passed what could become the most restrictive abortion law in the country. Under the legislation, which Republican Gov. Kay Ivey signed on Wednesday, women in Alabama would be forced to carry unwanted or nonviable pregnancies to term in nearly all circumstances, including when a pregnancy results from rape or incest. Doctors who perform the procedure would face felony charges and up to 99 years in prison — which is more prison time than convicted rapists have faced in the state.

Showing just how far to the right the anti-abortion movement has pushed the “center” of the abortion debate, it was the bill’s rape and incest exceptions, since removed, that dominated the conversation in the Alabama Senate. It seemed forgone that the state would ban abortions for a vast majority of the women there. Lawmakers supporting abortion rights were left arguing to preserve the rape and incest exceptions.

There is a strategy behind this bill’s remarkable cruelty, and its supporters have not been subtle about it. The bill’s sponsor in the Alabama House, Terri Collins, said that the legislation was designed to produce a legal case that could overturn Roe v. Wade. When asked the purpose of the bill on Tuesday, Clyde Chambliss, the Senate sponsor of the legislation, said, “So that we can go directly to the Supreme Court to challenge Roe v. Wade.” (Highlighting the ignorance behind so much anti-abortion legislation, Mr. Chambliss also seemed to argue repeatedly on Tuesday that women in Alabama would still be able to get abortions — but only before they knew they were pregnant.)

Anti-abortion lawmakers did not used to be so overt about their intentions to upend Roe. But now they have every reason to be open about their motives, with a Supreme Court that seems clearly tilted in their favor.

That’s why 2019 has been so relentless for supporters of reproductive rights. Just about every week there has been a new, extreme anti-abortion bill on the table. Georgia’s governor last week signed legislation to ban abortions after six weeks of pregnancy — which might as well be a full ban. Lawmakers in Kentucky, Ohio and Mississippi passed similar laws in the preceding weeks.

It’s important to note that all of these laws, including Alabama’s, will be delayed in the courts for some time — until Roe v. Wade is overturned, assuming it ever is. Clinics in states with new anti-abortion laws have reported a surge in calls from women who are unsure whether they can still come in for their appointments. They can. Though far too many women in the United States can’t afford or otherwise don’t have access to abortion — and already couldn’t before this year — the procedure is legal in America today.

The states with these new laws each have a community of reproductive-rights advocates who’ve seen the writing on the wall and have been preparing for the worst. Among them are the Kentucky Health Justice Network; Access Reproductive Care-Southeast, which works in states including Mississippi and Alabama; the Yellowhammer Fund in Alabama; NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio; and Women Have Options, also in Ohio. The web companion to “Handbook for a Post-Roe America,” the timely new book by Robin Marty, contains up-to-date information about groups working in all parts of the country.

Beyond donations, those looking to support abortion access can look into becoming a clinic escort — someone who walks women into a clinic, helping shield them from the anti-abortion protesters who often shout epithets at or try to mislead or confuse patients. While Alabama and Georgia are understandably dominating headlines, clinics all over the country — including in blue states — need you, too. Contact your local clinic directly to ask about how you can help or sign up to be a Planned Parenthood volunteer.

There will also be more and more political debate over abortion pills in this country, and it’s important to educate yourself about this discussion. Women who can’t make it to an abortion clinic are increasingly acquiring these drugs, often a safe option, on their own. That trend is sure to continue as abortion access gets rolled back across the country.

Don’t overlook your local elections. As important as it is to have national leaders who support reproductive rights, the battle over abortion access is still largely a state issue for now. The makeup of your City Council can also matter a great deal — decisions about zoning and even noise ordinances can make the difference between a clinic staying open or being forced to shutter.

Finally, continue to talk about this issue — with friends and family and fellow members of your community. Don’t let abortion rights fade from consciousness as these extreme laws become America’s new normal.

The New York Times

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Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Editorials

September 15, 2019

It was daytime when the first bands of Hurricane Floyd began lashing eastern North Carolina and the Greenville area on Wednesday, Sept. 15, 1999, 20 years ago today.

The Tar River was nearly 5 feet above flood stage already, thanks in good measure to two passes by Hurricane Dennis two weeks before.…

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August 18, 2019

A nearly unanimous vote by the Greenville City Council this month to annex nearly 400 acres well outside the city limits raises questions about the rights of rural residents and the city’s direction when it comes to managing growth.

The council voted 5-1 with Rick Smiley in opposition to…

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August 09, 2019

The Trump administration is considering a draft regulation to lower drug prices. North Carolinians have little reason to celebrate.

The administration’s proposal would impose price controls in Medicare. Rather than helping patients save money, this drastic step would stifle access to state-of-…

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July 28, 2019

Everyone embroiled in the debate over the State Health Plan should be working toward the same thing: the best health care for the lowest cost for the people of North Carolina.

Unfortunately, disagreement over how to do that escalated into a feud and now has plummeted into a childlike spat.

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July 21, 2019

“Send her back!”

The racist refrain, soft at first, crescendoed as the crowd at President Donald Trump’s “Keep America Great” rally on Wednesday in Greenville emphatically picked it up. On live television, sitting stage right of the President at East Carolina…

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July 04, 2019

As the story goes, our Founding Fathers declared their independence from their mother country 243 years ago today, that the “united colonies are, and of right, ought to be free and Independent States; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown.”

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June 10, 2019

As the election results became clear in 2016, financial markets rose amid a surge of economic optimism. That surge continued for two years as Donald Trump and Republicans pursued a pro-growth agenda of tax reform, deregulation and encouraging domestic energy production. But with Democrats now…

June 08, 2019

Keith Cox served the residents of Virginia Beach in the public utilities department for 12 years.

Well-liked by co-workers, he spent his final moments on Friday working to protect them from a gunman in the municipal center — sacrificing his life in the process.

The remembrance of Cox,…

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June 04, 2019

Give Harry Smith credit for being willing to do his homework and change his mind.

Smith, the usually outspoken and politically conservative chairman of the University of North Carolina Board of Governors, emerged from a recent board meeting and told reporters that his thinking about what to do…

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June 03, 2019

Vice President Mike Pence came to Charlotte this week for a 2020 Republican National Convention kickoff event. The visit was a reminder of the discomfort many feel in this progressive city about the 2020 RNC — an uneasiness so deep that Mayor Vi Lyles said last summer that she wouldn’t…

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