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Elections & Politics

Extreme Women’s Health Opponent Thom Tillis Wins North Carolina GOP Nomination for Senate

Contact: Planned Parenthood Action Fund Media Office, 212-261-4433

Contact: Melissa Reed, Planned Parenthood Health Systems Action Fund, 919-924-1520

For Immediate Release: 05.06.14

“The difference between Senator Kay Hagan and Thom Tillis couldn’t be starker when it comes to issues important to women, such as access to birth control and safe and legal abortion,” said Melissa Reed, Vice President for Public Affairs, Planned Parenthood Health Systems Action Fund. 

Raleigh, NC – With North Carolina Speaker of the House Thom Tillis winning the Republican nomination for Senate tonight, Planned Parenthood advocacy and political organizations underscored Tillis’ extreme record and agenda on women’s health.  News reports are already showing that the stark differences between Tillis and Senator Kay Hagan on access to birth control, safe and legal abortion, and Planned Parenthood funding, will play a key role. 

“We know that women reject politicians like Thom Tillis that attack their access to reproductive health care services – we saw it in President Obama’s re-election and many other races in 2012 and Terry McAuliffe's election in the Virginia gubernatorial race in 2013," said Cecile Richards, president,Planned Parenthood Action Fund.  Don’t be fooled by claims that he is a ‘moderate.’ Thom Tillis is an extreme opponent of women’s health who wants to outlaw safe and legal abortion, believes states have the right to restrict access to birth control, and supports “personhood” initiatives that could interfere with personal medical decisions about birth control, access to fertility treatment, management of a miscarriage, and access to safe and legal abortion.”

“The difference between Senator Kay Hagan and Thom Tillis couldn’t be starker when it comes to issues important to women, such as access to birth control and safe and legal abortion,” said Melissa Reed, Vice President for Public Affairs, Planned Parenthood Health Systems Action Fund.  “We can count on Senator Hagan to stand up for North Carolina women and families in Washington, but the only thing we can count on Thom Tillis to do is attack women’s access to health care every chance he gets. At Planned Parenthood Health Systems Action Fund and Planned Parenthood Action Fund of Central NC we’ll be working around the clock to ensure voters in our state know where the candidates stand on issues important to women’s health and economic well-being. Women are watching and we want leaders that will move our country forward, not backwards on women’s health and rights. North Carolina can’t risk Thom Tillis.”

Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the national political arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, along with Planned Parenthood Health Systems Action Fund and Planned Parenthood Action Fund of Central North Carolina, will work to educate voters about what’s at stake in the Senate race.  Planned Parenthood’s political and electoral arms will adapt a data-driven strategy to educate and motivate key women voters that was successfully executed in the Virginia gubernatorial race last year to elect women’s health champion Terry McAuliffe as Virginia’s governor. You can learn more about that strategy here.

BACKGROUND:

Tillis wants to overturn Roe v. Wade and outlaw safe and legal abortion.

  • As Speaker of the House, he led the charge to pass the deeply unpopular “Motorcycle Vagina bill”, a package of dangerous abortion restrictions that was inserted into an unrelated bill, formerly dealing with motorcycle safety.   The law could dramatically restrict the number of health centers that provide abortion in North Carolina.
    • new poll out yesterday from Elon University shows that in the wake of last summer’s attack spearheaded by Tillis, more people (44 percent) feel that state laws should make access to abortion less difficult compared to the 40 percent who said access should be made more difficult.  Views have shifted most notably among women since a poll in September 2013; seven months ago, women were almost evenly split on the issue, whereas today a majority of women want fewer restrictions on abortion.
    • Polls show 80 percent of North Carolina voters thought it was inappropriate to tuck abortion restrictions into a motorcycle safety bill, which was championed by Tillis; and they also soured on Governor McCrory, who broke his campaign promise not to enact further restrictions on abortion.
  • Tillis helped lead the charge to pass one of the most extreme medically unnecessary mandatory ultrasound bills in the country – a measure designed to shame and judge women seeking an abortion.  He called it “unfortunate” when Governor Perdue vetoed the bill.  The legislation was struck down in federal court, all while costing the taxpayers money in litigation costs. 

Tillis believes the state has right to ban birth control, and opposes North Carolina women’s access to no-co-pay birth control. 

  • He supports so-called “personhood” amendments that could interfere with personal medical decisions about birth control, access to fertility treatment, management of a miscarriage, and access to safe and legal abortion if enacted.
  • He opposes the Affordable Care Act’s historic benefits for women – including access to no-co-pay birth control.  Without the ACA, insurance companies could once again charge women more for their coverage and classify pregnancy as a pre-existing condition. 

Tillis voted multiple times to cut North Carolina women off from Planned Parenthood’s preventive health services, including affordable birth control and life-saving cancer screenings.

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Planned Parenthood Action Fund is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit membership organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The Action Fund engages in educational and electoral activity, including voter education, grassroots organizing, and legislative advocacy.

Planned Parenthood Health Systems Action Fund and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund of Central North Carolina are non-partisan, not-for-profit organizations formed as the political arms of Planned Parenthood in North Carolina.   The Action Funds engage in educational and electoral activity including legislative advocacy, voter education and grassroots organizing.