- Above-average sex ed mandates
North Carolina mandates sex and HIV education (and it’s only one of 21 states that do so, and only one in 13 that require the curriculum to be medically accurate), with a stress on abstinence. This mandate follows the Healthy Youth Act that passed in North Carolina in 2009, which requires all sex and HIV education curriculum to be objective and scientifically peer-reviewed. NARAL Pro-Choice of North Carolina says on its website that it replaced an abstinence-only-until-marriage curriculum that had been in place for 15 years.
- Condoms available throughout the Triad
According to the Guttmacher Institute, almost all (95 percent) of unintended pregnancies are attributable to the third of people who do not use contraceptives or who use them inconsistently. Planned Parenthood clinics in Greensboro and Winston-Salem, health centers at almost all Triad higher education institutions, county health departments and Alcohol & Drug Services locations offer free condoms via the Triad Health Project, says their website.
- Higher-than-average unintended (and expensive) pregnancies
In 2010, 54 percent of all pregnancies in North Carolina were unintended, more than the national average of 45 percent. In their most recent report in 2010, the Guttmacher Institute said that federal and state governments spent $858.3 million on public insurance programs like Medicaid for unintended pregnancies in NC that year.
- Maternity/paternity leave not guaranteed
Some states have laws that require private employers to give employees time off for the birth or adoption of a child, or to care for a family member with a serious illness. North Carolina does not have such a law, but the Family and Medical Leave Act usually covers employees of companies with 50 or more employees; small business employers with fewer than 50 employees are not required to provide leave.
- NC abortion rates high, but steadily decreasing
The Center for Disease Control reports that 24,439 abortions took place in North Carolina in 2014 — the lowest number since 2003 — and that of those abortions, 2,521 were performed in Guilford and Forsyth counties (around 10 percent). The state also has the 11th highest abortion rate in the country.
- Strictest abortion time cutoffs
A pregnancy is usually considered viable at 24-26 weeks, but North Carolina is one of three states that bans abortions more than 20 weeks after fertilization, the other two being Mississippi and South Carolina. This state law, which requires abortion providers to submit their patient’s ultrasounds (usually considered private documents) when an abortion is performed after 16 weeks, was signed by Gov. Pat McCrory in June 2015, though of abortions performed in North Carolina in 2014, the state health department reports 99.9 percent were done at 20 weeks or less after fertilization.
- Triad abortion providers ghost in HP
There are plenty of places to get an abortion in Greensboro and in Winston-Salem, but a representative of the the only abortion provider in High Point — Carolina Woman Care at 712 N. Elm St. — said in a recent phone call that it’s planning to end abortion services soon, in preparation for its doctor’s eventual retirement. There are religiously affiliated pregnancy care centers in all three cities.
- Triad counties provide abortion services unavailable elsewhere
As of a 2013 NARAL press release, 86 percent of North Carolina counties did not have an abortion provider, making it difficult for people living in rural areas to obtain abortion care (that’s keeping in mind that citizens out-of-county may also have to zig-zag due to the 72-hour consideration period). Guilford and Forsyth counties are among the few that do. Numbers from the NC State Center for Health Statistics capture how the geographic scarcity of providers can affect people seeking to end pregnancies; in 2014, 1,087 people had abortions in Forsyth County, 785 of whom were county residents — perhaps drawing some of the 157 from Davidson County or 28 in Stokes who couldn’t obtain care there.