Your help is needed in securing a veto override of the ‘Woman’s Right to Know Act’
By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League
RALEIGH — It’s back to work for North Carolina lawmakers who reconvened July 13 to redraw the state’s congressional and legislative voting districts and possibly override a number of Gov. Bev Perdue’s vetoes, including one of a law that could save thousands of lives.
“The Abortion – Woman’s Right to Know Bill (H854) is a top priority, and we are hopeful that the votes can be secured for the needed three-fifths majority,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. “In short, the bill would make sure women get needed information — the name of the doctor, probable age of the unborn child, medical risks associated with abortion and pregnancy, a chance to view an ultrasound and information on whether the doctor has malpractice insurance and clinical privileges at the local hospital — at least 24 hours before an abortion.”
Thirty-four other states have passed similar laws. The bill could save an estimated 3,000 lives each year in North Carolina where a recent poll shows 63 percent of women between the ages of 18 and 44 agree with the bill as do 72 percent of Republican voters, 55 percent of Independent voters and 45 percent of Democrats.
Pro-life advocates who have been monitoring the issue believe just one more Yes vote is needed in each chamber to overturn the Governor’s veto, one of 15 this year — the most since the gubernatorial veto was approved in 1997.
“We continue to urge Christians across the state to get on the phone and to send those e-mails to lawmakers, asking them to vote Yes on H 854. It truly is a matter of life and death for thousands of unborn children, not to mention the mothers, many of whom will make the decision for life and escape years of regret and sorrow that an abortion can bring,” said the Rev. Creech. “It’s uncertain when lawmakers will discuss a potential override, but the sooner the better, so we shouldn’t delay in contacting them.”
The Senate has already voted to override six vetoes, including bills regarding malpractice suits, environmental regulations, unemployment benefits and more, (Senate Bills 33, 781, 496, 532, 727 and 709). Senators haven’t taken up H 854.
Lawmakers are expected to be in session until July 29, with the bulk of their time spent on redistricting. Maps, which must be approved by a majority in both the House and Senate, are not susceptible to veto.
Analysts said the proposed new district map, released by State Senate Redistricting Committee Chairman Sen. Bob Rucho (R-Mecklenburg) early last week and reflecting a decade’s worth of population growth, favors the GOP.
“The way the districts are drawn, should they remain intact as proposed, would make it difficult for Democrats to win back the chamber even in years when the political wind is blowing at their backs,” read a release from the North Carolina FreeEnterprise Foundation. The group pointed out several instances of “double-bunking,” situations in which two incumbents are drawn into the same district. Those include District 31, with Forsyth County Senators Linda Garrou (D) and Pete Brunstetter (R) as well as District 26 with Senators Don Vaughan (D-Guilford) and Phil Berger (R-Rockingham). The phenomenon could also pit two Republicans against one another in District 29 (Randolph County’s Jerry Tillman and Moore County’s Harris Blake) and District 46 (Warren Daniel from Burke vs. Debbie Clary from Cleveland or her appointed successor as she has announced plans to resign.) Only one district, Senate District 23, would put two incumbent Democrats together, Ellie Kinnaird (Orange) and Bob Atwater (Chatham).
Democrats would likely have the upper hand in at least two open seat districts, District 5 (Greene County with parts of Wayne, Lenoir and Pitt) and District 22 (Caswell and Person counties with parts of Durham), according to the NCFEF analysis. Mecklenburg County gained an additional Senate district (District 41) due to population growth, one that includes the northern and eastern border areas of the county. Wake County would also gain a Senate seat.
Analysts also point out that the proposed map favors many in the GOP Class of 2010, whose districts, with a few exceptions, were altered to make them more Republican-friendly.
The House proposed redistricting map, known as the Lewis-Dollar-Dockham 1 plan, includes double-bunking in 14 districts and would create 14 open seats that contain no incumbent House members. The double-bunking would pit Democrats against one another in six cases; Republicans opposing in five; and create three districts with a Republican and Democrat to fight it out.
Interestingly enough, although the redrawn lines on each map favor the majority party as expected, the Durham Herald reported that last year’s election was so favorable for Republicans that the new district lines would likely have improved their actual showing in state Senate races by just three seats.
“Obviously redistricting is a huge and politically charged chore, and our lawmakers need our prayers as they try to set up districts that are fair to voters and meet federal standards as well as reflect population changes that show more and more people moving to urban areas,” the Rev. Creech said.
He said the Christian Action League will be monitoring the veto override issues, redistricting and also the ongoing push for expanding gambling at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino.
“Rules regarding the purpose of the session should prevent the introduction of new legislation to add Las Vegas-style games to the state compact with the Eastern Band of Cherokees, but we must stay vigilant as we know the tribe and the governor’s office are looking for a way to make this happen and promoting it as a jobs issue,” the Rev. Creech added. “We will continue to remind lawmakers of the ill-effects of gambling to our society and keep an eye on this matter.”
Meanwhile, he said Christians should not fail to contact lawmakers about H 854. To phone your legislator to ask him/her to vote for a veto override click here
The Rev. Creech also said Rep. William Brisson (D-Bladen), Rep. Dewey Hill (D-Brunswick), and Rep. Tim Spear (D-Chowan) should receive phone calls or emails of appreciation for their support of the bill and encouragement to continue to vote “Yes” as they are likely under pressure from others in their party to oppose the override.
Contact information for expressions of the thanks to these lawmakers
Rep. William Brisson (D-Bladen) 919.733.5772; William.Brisson@ncleg.net
Rep. Dewey Hill (D-Brunswick) 919.733.5830; Dewey.Hill@ncleg.net
Rep. Tim Spear (D-Chowan) 919.715.3029; Tim.Spear@ncleg.net
E-mailing lawmakers would also help get the word to them on this issue. To email your lawmaker to ask him/her to vote for a veto override click here
“This only takes a few minutes but it could save thousands of lives,” the Rev. Creech said. “Let’s do all we can for this bill’s passage.”