Moore County Board of Commissioners May Have Tipped Its Hand on Anti-Choice Resolution
Last night, before a packed house at the Moore County Board of Commissioners meeting, speaker after speaker stood up and made emotional pleas to both the Board and their fellow citizens. Half spoke in favor of a resolution to declare Moore County a "pro-life sanctuary." Half spoke against such a resolution.
All of the speeches had value. Many pulled at heart strings. Listening this morning, I was brought to tears several times by speakers on both sides of the issue.
But my mind wasn't changed.
No one's mind was changed.
The bottom line is that the Moore County Board of Commissioners has no legal authority to make any resolution regarding abortion. As of this date, abortion remains legal and a protected medical procedure in North Carolina. No resolution by this Board can or will change that. The function of the County Commissioners is to oversee the collection of taxes in this county and to use those taxes to provide resources and services to citizens. It is not within the purview of the county government to attempt to impose its moral will on its citizens in violation of state law.
And that is the bottom line. The Moore County Board of Commissioners has absolutely no business inserting itself into this debate. It needs to stay out of it.
Sadly, I predict that the Board will overstep its legal authority and make a declaration to designate Moore County a "pro-birth" county - if not now, then in December when elections have been held and a new Board is seated. The individual Commissioners obviously have strong pro-birth views and I fear they will be unable to separate their personal beliefs from their duties as a governing Board. I hope that I am wrong; but experience has taught me that what is right under the law usually doesn't have much to do with the political and partisan statements and actions of our elected officials.
The focus of pro-life activism in Moore County must now shift away from our Board of Commissioners - a body that has no practical influence on this issue - to the upcoming elections for state legislature and congressional seats. If we want to protect reproduction rights for our citizens, we must work to elect representatives who share our values.
It is clear that we are wasting our time and effort trying to appeal to the Board of Commissioners. The evidence was clear last night, when Vice-chair Catherine Graham (Chair Quis was absent as he has been diagnosed with Covid) encouraged the applause of a pro-birth speaker while chastising the crowd for applauding a pro-choice speaker. The pro-life speaker introduced her daughter - who was born healthy despite doctors warning her mother she would be born with disabilities. Yes, that is certainly worthy of applause, and Ms. Graham commended the audience for clapping. The pro-choice speaker spoke of her husband's death, how he served his country, and how her family faced difficult choices in the aftermath of his passing. Ms. Graham admonished the crowd for clapping.
I suppose Ms. Graham only finds the struggles of people who share her beliefs to be worthy of applause. I find that sad and shameful. And, I find it to be a glaring sign of her intentions and the intentions of the Board.
Ms. Graham, indeed the entire Board seems to have tipped its hand last night. I could be wrong, but as a seasoned poker player - I wouldn't bet against a "pro-birth sanctuary" resolution being a reality in Moore County very soon. This view is strengthened by statements by both Commissioners Picerno and Graham at the meeting that they would consult with the county attorney about legal ramifications BEFORE making a resolution. If they didn't intend to make such a resolution, no discussion with the county attorney would be necessary.
Sorry, Moore County citizens who believe in the human right of choice and freedom to make your own decisions regarding your reproductive health. You DO NOT MATTER in Moore County, According to the Board of Commissioners, you're not even worthy of applause from your fellow citizens.
***Commentary by Cheryl Christy. Cheryl can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org
You may watch the entire meeting HERE.