Abortion laws across America have changed a lot over the last year. Ever since the Dobbs decision overturned Roe v. Wade, many states have taken significant steps to restrict abortion and protect life.
TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: Thanks for joining us this week for Family Policy Matters. For nearly 50 years, pro-life Americans have focused on bringing attention to the sacredness of human life every January through marches, prayer vigils, and countless other events. Well, this year marks the first January in nearly two generations when these efforts take place out from underneath the cloud of Roe v. Wade, which the U.S. Supreme Court struck down last summer. However, I think we’re all well aware that much work remains.
We are grateful today to be joined by North Carolina Right to Life president, Dr. Bill Pincus to discuss why we continue to march and pray this January. Dr. Bill Pincus, welcome to Family Policy Matters.
BILL PINCUS: Hi. Thanks, Traci. Thanks for having me. You know, I always like to start with a little prayer, and if you don’t mind, I think most of the pro-lifers are well aware of Psalm 139:13-16, and it goes, “You formed my inward parts. You knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you for I am wondrously made. Wonderful are your works. You know me right well, and my frame was not hidden from you when I was being made in secret, intricately wrought in the depths of the earth. Your eyes beheld my unformed substance. In your books were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me when as of yet there were none of them.”
Traci, when we look at the pro-life movement and we look at Scripture, and we think about, you know, that was over 2,000 years ago. That was before Christ when that was written, and yet people at that time knew that the baby was a gift from God, that life was a gift from God. And that’s why it’s so important for us to continue advocating, doing everything we can to protect the babies that are conceived and to support their mothers so that they don’t have that awful decision to make.
TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: Thank you for that precious reminder. Sometimes when we’re doing public policy we forget to take a step back and just remember where it all began. So thank you for that. I know for people that have worked in the pro-life movement for many years we’ve wondered how our supporters would feel once Roe v. Wade was overturned, so as someone who’s been working in this pro-life arena so intimately for so long, what is it like now? What is it like planning and attending these longstanding pro-life events each year now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned?
BILL PINCUS: You know that decision on June 24th was just astounding, and we were so grateful. We’d worked for 49 and a half years to have that overturned, and what it did, it did not abolish abortion. It just said that the states had the right to regulate abortion within their state according to the wishes of the state and the elected officials. So there’s still a lot of work to be done. It didn’t overturn abortion at all. It is so important that men and women of faith contact their legislators whenever there’s a pro-life bill on the floor and tell them to support it and to work to support legislators and good men and women who are running for office that are pro-life that do respect life from conception.
TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: Okay. So state laws more important than ever. So talk to us about the current state of abortion law here in North Carolina.
BILL PINCUS: So North Carolina in 1973, I believe it was, passed the law limiting or restricting abortions after 20 weeks with the exception of life of the mother. That law got passed after Roe v. Wade basically allowed abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy. That law got enjoined in 2015 or so and recently was reinstated after Roe fell.
So right now the current law in North Carolina is that abortion on demand can be had for any reason up until 19 weeks and 6 days, and there is still the exception for the health of the mother. So that’s where we currently stand with North Carolina law.
TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: One of the tactics of pro-life lawmakers has been to sort of make abortion less accessible through some other laws. Could you just talk a little bit about where those stand? I know there was a lawsuit that was dropped recently regarding that.
BILL PINCUS: Yes. Well, what happened was Planned Parenthood and several other pro-abortion organizations sued saying that there’s been an increase in abortions in North Carolina since Roe v. Wade has been overturned because many of the states in the southeast have enacted strict laws and, therefore, people were coming to North Carolina from our of state, and they wanted nurse practitioners and PAs to be able to prescribe mifepristone, which is RU486. That’s the first pill in the chemical abortion industry that you take, and then several days later you take misoprostol, which makes the woman have a heavy period, cramping, uterine contractions, and expel the baby.
That lawsuit was dropped right before Christmas. However, it’s interesting because just this week the FDA said, okay, we’re going to allow pharmacies to dispense that drug, and RU486 is not without its complications. There are a lot of complications associated with it, and there have been 28 reported deaths and that’s actually on the FDA website. So it’s not one swell thing, and now I’m not pregnant anymore and I can go on with my life. It has serious risk with it, and we don’t think that the FDA should be allowing the pharmacies to dispense that drug. You don’t have any control of that drug once the person has it, and the law in North Carolina currently states that that medication needs to be prescribed by an abortion provider and taken in their presence at the hospital or the clinic. So it insures that the woman is seeing a medical provider before she takes that pill.
TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: So you’re saying that we should not expect to see pharmacies in North Carolina dispensing this at least at this time?
BILL PINCUS: Well, that’s a grey area, and that’s something that we are considering working on because it is significantly dangerous. And I was just doing some research the other day on it, and the United Kingdom, during the COVID era, allowed women to get it from their local pharmacies and not see a physician ahead of time. And it’s interesting because the statistics from U.K. said that the complication rate doubled with women taking it at home without seeing a physician. So, again, it’s just not a safe drug.
TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: You know, I was really sorry to see that Walgreen’s was like ready and was so eager to sign up. They were the first national pharmacy to sign up to distribute the abortion pill, and that’s my pharmacist. And so I didn’t have any recommendations on how I should proceed with that. I know what I’m thinking.
BILL PINCUS: I know exactly what I’m thinking, too, and, you know, Walgreen’s and CVS are two huge chains. That’s a convenience factor, but I will tell you and I am seriously thinking about moving all of our prescription drugs from Walgreen’s and CVS. And, you know, my plan then would be myself never to go into those stores again. Unfortunately, money is behind the pro-abortion movement. Planned Parenthood makes probably 75 to 80 percent of their money off abortion, although they claim that they provide so much non-abortion care. And that’s deceptive when you look at it because if a person comes into their facility and they order a CBC, blood count, that’s counted as one encounter. They order a urinalysis. That’s counted as another encounter. The woman may or may not have other tests done, STD testings, you know sexually transmitted disease testing. That’s a third encounter, and, finally, the abortion, which is the fourth encounter. But they count that four times, but the abortion is the part that gives them the most money. So it’s very deceptive in how they advertise, oh, we’re not an abortion provider.
TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: Thank you for bringing that up because that gets lost in Planned Parenthood statistics a lot, so thanks for reminding us about. And just to be clear, I don’t think either one of us is calling for a boycott of Walgreen’s or CVS, at least not at this point, but I think it’s interesting for us as Christians to know that they are really anxious to get in there and be a leader in providing the abortion pill and that as Christians we need to sort of take a look at what we think about that if we use their services.
So let’s move along. Let’s talk about what you think the top priority for pro-life North Carolinians needs to be in our state? What are some places that we can concentrate our efforts here?
BILL PINCUS: So one of the things that I think, we need to make abortion unthinkable, and we need to support women with crisis pregnancies. And I think that even within our churches that there are women who’ve had abortion and they’re silent. They don’t want people to know, and then people get ostracized when they’re pregnant. And regardless of the circumstances, that baby is precious and we need to be welcoming and supportive of women in our own communities across North Carolina, across the nation, and not be so quick to judgment, you know. All of us do foolish things, but we should be supportive of these women and their pregnancies and their crises, and that’s one thing, I think, in North Carolina we’ve made some progress with. We were able to get additional funding for the pregnancy resource centers in North Carolina last year, and in case your listeners don’t know, there are over 70 pregnancy resource centers in North Carolina, and they staff 93 different locations. So that’s almost one location for each county, the 100 counties in North Carolina. And those organizations have 15 mobile medical units, which have ultrasound and pregnancy capability, and we have found and the statistics prove it that if a woman sees her baby, 70 to 75 of them are going to choose life. And the abortion industry is so terrified of that, that they try to strike down the laws. And, in fact, our North Carolina ultrasound law is enjoined right now so that the abortion providers do not have to show the woman the ultrasound or have the audio on that they can hear the heartbeat. They do have to do an ultrasound, that’s the law, to date the age of the pregnancy.
TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: Thank you. You’re reminding us of some really good things. Sometimes I think we just see a comparison state to state of the laws, the basic laws, but these other laws and even this, this funding that comes from the legislature to these pregnancy resource centers, are saving a lot of lives, aren’t they?
BILL PINCUS: Yes, tremendously, and that’s why it’s so important. Education not only of our lawmakers, but everyday person that’s out there, it’s so important to go to these pro-life events. You know, we’re having our march on the 14th of January, and this broadcast will be afterwards. But we have Dr. Matthew Harrison coming as our keynote speaker. And he was one of the two gentlemen, one doctor on the west coast and Dr. Matthew Harrison in the same year, within a few months of each other, came up thinking, gosh, how can we reverse this abortion pill. And they said, well, let’s just give them a bunch of progesterone, which is the natura hormone that increases when the woman is pregnant. And lo and behold it worked, and if the woman takes that first abortion bill, that RU486, mifepristone. If she does not take the second pill and has, you know, a change of heart within 24 to 72 hours, about 4,000 babies are alive today since that was discovered. And Dr. Matthew Harrison, a good old North Carolinian was one of the co-inventors of that procedure. And he is going to be our keynote speaker at our prayer breakfast.
TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: All right. Well, I think we’re just about out of time, but give us those things that we can do as individuals to continue to make a difference in the lives of these pre-born babies and support the mothers. Give us like three things that we can do to help you in what you’re doing in saving the lives of these unborn children.
BILL PINCUS: Sure. You know, everybody — everybody can pray, and prayer is such an important — communication with our maker, so, number one, pray and pray always. Be joyful. Be cheerful. Number two, get in contact with these different organizations, and I’m going to just name a few here, and I won’t name them all because there’s just too many. But NC Family Policy Council, which is providing this interview, NC Family Values, Faith and Freedom Coalition, Christian Action League, God and Country Christian Alliance, the Human Life and Dignity Chapters at the Diocese of Raleigh and the Diocese of Charlotte. They have a program that’s called “Walking with Moms.” The Knights of Columbus are very supportive of pro-life movements and help with a lot of the pregnancy care centers, and, obviously, our organization, North Carolina Right to Life, we lobby, we educate, we travel around the state. We go to a lot of the state fairs and have booths, and so those are things that people can do. And, finally, and the most impact you can have is communicating with your elected legislator. Pick up the phone and call them, and if you get a chance when you’re in Raleigh, stop by the General Assembly. They’ll be happy to see you, especially if you’re one of their constituents. And tell them that you’re pro-life and that you think life should be protected.
So those are three things: prayer, contact with these organizations, keep informed and up to date, and then, finally, contact your legislators when these organizations say, hey, we need you to talk to your personal legislator.
TRACI DEVETTE GRIGGS: Well, thank you so much for joining us. Dr. Bill Pincus, President of the North Carolina Right to Life. Thanks for being with us today on Family Policy Matters.
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