Op-Ed: North Carolina Republicans are working overtime to restrict abortion even more. But we can stop them at the ballot box.

Photo: Dylan Rhoney/Cardinal & Pine

By Woodson Bradley

April 23, 2024

When I think about abortion access in North Carolina, I think about lying there on a hospital bed after I was sexually assaulted, with sympathetic nurses putting me back together, knowing I had a choice at that time if I needed it.

I think about the Planned Parenthood I volunteered at in college, where I also received my check-ups, pap smears, and contraception. And most of all, I think about my high school-aged daughter and the sobering reality that she and her peers no longer have the same reproductive rights I grew up with. They deserve better.

Like one in four women in the United States, I am a survivor of domestic and sexual violence. And before extremist Republicans in Raleigh banned abortion after 12 weeks of pregnancy with Senate Bill 20, I, and millions of other survivors like me, would have been confident that no matter what happened, we would have been able to get the health care we needed right here in our home state.

But they did ban abortion with SB 20, and now women’s reproductive freedoms across North Carolina hang in the balance.

Even survivors of sexual violence like I endured are forced to jump through cruel and unnecessary hoops to obtain the care they need, and due to the number of doctor visits required by the law, expense of travel and/or time from work, and the backlog of appointments, many cannot obtain the care they need.

This legislation is so harmful and out of touch that it even applies to minors. Pregnant children will be forced to carry pregnancies to term in our state thanks to Republicans in Raleigh and Donald Trump, the man who empowers them. Those with fatal fetal diagnoses are subject to similar restrictions.

Republicans in Raleigh have proved they’re willing to do whatever it takes to ban abortion, and the 12-week ban is only step one in their plan. If they maintain their supermajority in the General Assembly they won’t stop at 12 weeks — they won’t stop until they enact a total abortion ban starting at conception and without exceptions, putting even more women at risk and further eroding our basic right to life saving health care and bodily autonomy. This isn’t a secret. It has been openly discussed by their extreme slate of candidates up for election this fall.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that we’re not helpless, and we can fight back. This November, North Carolina has the opportunity to make our voices heard and tell extremist Republican legislators at the ballot box that we have had enough of them inserting themselves between us and our doctors.


  • Woodson Bradley

    Woodson Bradley is a long-time NC Resident, wife, mother, business owner, community leader, and domestic/sexual violence survivor. She has dedicated the latest chapter of her life to speak, advocate, and work with leaders and law enforcement to stop the "silent cycle" of domestic violence. She is a known speaker for women's issues, teen dating violence prevention, domestic violence awareness, and finding solutions to common problems facing society.


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