News

Chapel Hill, North Carolina to Consider Truth in Advertising Crisis Pregnancy Center Law

Robin Marty

First, one city. Maybe later the whole state?

As funding for family planning programs, especially those involved with Planned Parenthood centers, continues to shrink, crisis pregnancy centers continue to pretend they can fill the gap left behind. Even when they don’t offer birth control. Or STI testing. Or even accurate medical information.

Chapel Hill, North Carolina wants to put an end to that, and is passing a law demanding the groups stop lying.

Via The Daily Tar Heel:

On Monday, the Chapel Hill Town Council passed a resolution to rein in issues of malpractice and misinformation at pregnancy care centers.

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NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina, an abortion rights activist group, presented the resolution to the Chapel Hill Town Council.

In the resolution, the Town Council promoted the following three items:

Firstly, patients have the right to medically and factually accurate information.

Secondly, misinformation and deception undermine this fundamental right.

And, lastly, the proposal called on the N.C. General Assembly to protect this right by pursuing public policies to ensure that the principles stated above are applied for pregnancy-related counseling.

Unfortunately, to enact such a bill, it requires the go ahead and buy-in from the state legislature. Will the state approve? Let’s hope so, at least for the sake of women and teens looking for real, scientifically sound medicine and medical advice.

News Law and Policy

Anti-Immigrant Bill Advances in North Carolina

Tina Vasquez

The bill may become law by the end of the legislative session Saturday, American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina Acting Executive Director Sarah Preston told Rewire.

North Carolina’s HB 100, a bill that targets undocumented communities and aims to penalize cities not complying with local immigration laws, was sent to the house rules committee this week after passing the senate.

The bill could become law by the end of the legislative session Saturday, American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina Acting Executive Director Sarah Preston told Rewire.

HB 100 expands on HB 318, the Protect North Carolina Workers Act, signed into law last year, which requires employers doing business with a “public entity” to use the federal E-Verify system to authenticate the citizenship status of job applicants, and bars government agencies and local law enforcement from verifying a person’s identity or residence using consular or embassy documents.

HB 100 will prohibit an exception in HB 318 that allows law enforcement to accept identification provided through local programs such as the FaithAction ID Initiative, which provides identification for any resident in the community “who may not have access to government issued forms of ID.”

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As ThinkProgress reported, these local ID programs were created “in partnership with law enforcement officials precisely because police wanted to make cities safer … FaithAction International House realized that undocumented immigrants were afraid to call the police when crimes occurred, fearing officers would arrest them instead because they lacked identification.”

Another bill introduced in May, SB 868, aims to prohibit law enforcement officials from being able to accept these IDs and under HB 100, these programs, popular in larger cities like Greensboro, would be illegal.

“Removing the ability to use these community IDs makes undocumented immigrants more likely to be targets of crime, because it makes them fearful to come forward and interact with law enforcement,” said Preston. “People who want to take advantage of the community know this community has very little recourse.”

What’s “incredibly troubling,” Preston said, is the reporting piece of the bill. The law allows anonymous tipsters to call the attorney general’s office and make complaints against their city, town, or local law enforcement alleging it is not following local immigration laws. As CityLab reported, a second reporting measure allows any person to “file a lawsuit asking a court to decide whether a city or county is non-compliant with state law.”

If the attorney general confirms a report that a city is not complying with the state’s anti-immigrant policies, whether these violations are intentional or inadvertent, the city’s transportation and education funding will be withdrawn for the year.

“These complaints would be anonymous and confidential and could take shape in many different ways, like someone at the county clerk’s office helping an undocumented person access records or seeing an undocumented person in court that a North Carolina resident doesn’t think is being treated as badly as they should be,” Preston said.

The attorney general would investigate “no matter how frivolous or incomplete it may be,” Preston told Rewire.

HB 100 comes on the heels of the Supreme Court’s split ruling on Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA), which would have provided an estimated 3.6 million undocumented parents of U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident children with a renewable work permit and exemption from deportation for two years. At a time when advocates are calling on cities to provide more local protections for undocumented immigrants in light of the ruling, Preston said this measure represents the “unnecessary targeting” of a community that has already been under attackboth nationally and in North Carolina—for years.

A recent series of immigration raids hit North Carolina’s undocumented communities, which comprise 7.6 percent of the population, hard. The state doesn’t have any sanctuary cities, which are regions that do not work with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for the detainment and deportation of undocumented community members.

HB 100 would actually make sanctuary cities illegal, explained Preston. And the inability by undocumented community members to access any form of identification would erode any relationship local law enforcement has been able to build with this community.

“I can’t answer why the state is going after such a vulnerable population,” Preston said. “I think it’s wrong and misguided, but I don’t have an answer. I wish I knew.”

News Law and Policy

Bathroom Discrimination Law Could Cost North Carolina $861 Million in Federal Funds (Updated)

Teddy Wilson

Vanita Gupta, principal deputy assistant attorney general for the Justice Department, wrote in the department's letter that the law violates Title VII and Title IX of the Civil Rights Act.

UPDATE, May 5, 2:44 p.m.: House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) said Thursday that North Carolina’s GOP-majority legislature won’t meet the U.S. Department of Justice’s deadline. HB2 will be enforced, according to the Charlotte Observer.

North Carolina’s bathroom discrimination law violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964, according to a letter sent Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Justice to Gov. Pat McCrory (R).

North Carolina GOP lawmakers convened a special session of the state legislature in March and passed HB 2, which overrode the nondiscrimination ordinance passed by the Charlotte City Council the month prior.

HB 2 prohibits local governments from implementing nondiscrimination ordinances, and requires that people use the restrooms in public schools or government buildings designated for the gender on their birth certificate, among other provisions.

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Vanita Gupta, principal deputy assistant attorney general, wrote in the letter that that the GOP-backed law violates Title IX of the Civil Rights Act, which bars discrimination in education based on sex, as well as Title VII, which makes illegal employer discrimination.

North Carolina state officials have until Monday to confirm whether the state will comply with the Civil Rights Act or implement HB 2. At stake is $861 million in federal funding for public education, which the state would be in danger of losing if it implements the bathroom discrimination measure, according to the Charlotte Observer.

Opponents of the law filed a federal lawsuit in March, challenging the law on the grounds that the measure violates the U.S. Constitution.

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