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"MotorcycleVagina'' forum Monday — we are not making this up

What is undoubtedly, the first "MotorcycleVagina" forum will be held at Duke University on Monday. Or more properly, #MotorcycleVagina": The North Carolina Legislature's War on Women.

The panel discussion is being sponsored by the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy and will feature a panel of abortion choice supporters discussing the ramifications of the anti-abortion legislation passed earlier this year by the legislature.

The anti-abortion legislation was attached to a motorcycle bill in the Senate — hence the name.

The forum will held Monday at 12:15 p.m. in room 3037 of the Duke Law School.

Those scheduled to speak are Alison Kiser, director of affairs, Planned Parenthood of NC; Sarah Preston, policy director, ACLU of NC., Suzanne Buckley of NARAL Pro-Choice NC, and Jedediah Purdy, Duke law professor.

What North Carolinians think about abortion, gay marriage, tenure, etc.

Here is what North Carolinians thought on several key issues, according to a new Elon University Poll.

Abortion. Forty-five percent said the state should make access more more difficult while 41 percent bellied access to abortion should be less difficult. There is a wide disparity between the parties, with 58 percent of Democrats believing abortions should be made less difficult while only 21 percent of Republicans think so.

Gay marriages: Forty-seven percent of voters oppose same-six marriages, while 43 percent support it. Democrats (58 percent) are much more likely to support it than Republicans(21 percent.)

Teacher Tenure: A majority of voters (53 percent) support a teacher tenure law, which the legislature recently abolished.

Morning Memo: New poll gives Hagan the edge; Hillary Clinton bashes NC voter law

U.S. SENATE POLL: Politico is offering a sneak peek at the latest U.S. Senate poll numbers in North Carolina this morning. Public Policy Polling shows Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan with an eight-point edge in hypothetical matchups against Republicans Thom Tillis and Phil Berger. Both legislative leaders, along with other possible candidates, have negative approval ratings with many voters still not sure what to think. The margin of error is 4 percentage points. Look for more numbers from PPP when the poll is released later today.

VOTER ID, ELECTIONS BILL SIGNED: The implications of Gov. Pat McCrory's signature on the elections bill that requires a voter ID at the polls is far-reaching -- and so is the coverage. Get a round up below -- including Hillary Clinton's comments on the bill, a new PPP poll showing it unfavorable and more. Also, a story from Boone shows Republicans taking over local elections boards will likewise mean major changes.

***The Dome Morning Memo continues below. Thanks for reading.***

Morning Memo: Daily Show says North Carolina trumps South Carolina in crazy

VOTING BILL TARGET OF LAUGHS: Another day, another national television show puts North Carolina at the butt of the jokes. The Daily Show on Comedy Central took aim at the recently approved elections bill that puts restrictions on voting. Host John Oliver joked that the state election bill would place “all voting booths on buoys that are only accessible by yacht." The segment lumped North Carolina together with Texas and Florida but the Tar Heel state (starting at 2:30) received particular attention and Senate leader Phil Berger make an appearance from a TV clip. Oliver says the voting bill is just the “tip of the true $h*!-berg of a legislative session" and concludes: “Your move South Carolina. Oh, you thought you had crazy Carolina all sown up, didn’t you?”

***The state's system to deliver food assistance is troubled and ALEC is targeted ahead of this week's meeting. Read more North Carolina political news below in the Dome Morning Memo.***

DHHS emphasizes there's no abortion clinic crackdown

As The N&O reported Friday, the state Department of Health and Human Services has at least temporarily closed three abortion clinics in the past three months. Before this year, the state had only closed two clinics in 14 years.

DHHS says that’s a coincidence. This year has brought intense debate over a new law regulating abortion clinics, and top GOP officials were kept apprised of at least one of the closings. But state health regulators say they aren’t cracking down.

“As inspection reports show, when egregious violations that pose an immediate threat to patient health and safety are found, department inspectors do their job and act to protect North Carolinians from harm – regardless of politics and what is in the news,” DHHS spokesman Ricky Diaz said in an email Saturday. “There has been no change in policy or procedure, and there was no directive to increase inspections or closures of abortion facilties.”

Diaz notes that the Charlotte clinic closed earlier this year has reopened, and the other two – the Baker Clinic in Durham and Femcare Inc. in Asheville – can reopen if they correct their deficiencies.

The N&O story noted that the department characterized the closures as resulting from routine inspections. But Diaz felt that didn’t adequate emphasize the health agency’s denial of having a political agenda.

New state seal?

Translation: "To be backward, rather than to seem backward."

This bit of opinionated fun is courtesy of political blogger (and longtime N.C. politico) Gary Pearce.

Meanwhile, his fellow blogger at Talking About Politics -- on the political flip side -- Carter Wrenn weighs in with an analysis on just what this past, contentious session added up to.

Here's how Wrenn begins his piece: :

But what kind of devilment went on in the legislature before the peace of August southern afternoons was restored?

Not exactly what you’d think.

One group of politicians has been howling that legislators (of the Republican stripe) laid waste to the ‘old ways’ of North Carolina – that, like Viking helmeted Vandals, Republicans descended on Raleigh in hordes and sowed mayhem on the poor, children and women – on everybody but old rich white men and corporations.

Answering the howlers, the other group of politicians say after a long hegira in the wilderness they’ve restored North Carolina’s true path, revived our struggling fortunes, and, now, we are walking down the road to the Promised Land.

State suspends Asheville abortion clinic

The Department of Health and Human Services suspended the license of an Asheville abortion clinic Wednesday.

The suspension followed a routine survey of the clinic, FEMCARE, Inc.Regulators discovered 23 violations of existing rules, according to state release.

DHHS staff determined the violations revealed an imminent threat to the health and safety of patients.

Violations included failure to maintain anesthesia delivery systems, failure to ensure emergency equipment had weekly checks, failure to sweep and mop the operating floor and failure to have a director of nursing, among others.

This is the third license suspension of a North Carolina abortion clinic since May. Before May, the last suspension was in 2007.

Staff writer Caitlin Owens

Planned Parenthood starts two-day protest across from governor's mansion

Planned Parenthood supporters will stand opposite Gov. Pat McCrory’s Blount Street mansion Monday and Tuesday to protest his intent to sign a restrictive abortion bill.

In a press conference on Friday, McCrory said he would sign House Bill 353, which would limit insurance coverage for abortion and place stricter regulations on clinics providing the procedure. Planned Parenthood – a nationwide sexual and reproductive health care provider – and other abortion-rights groups and activists have demonstrated against the bill for the past several weeks, reminding the governor that he promised while campaigning not to sign any legislation further restricting abortion.

“I think it’s probably highly unlikely he will keep his word (and veto the bill), but I want him to know women are going to hold him accountable,” said Melissa Reed, the vice president of public policy for Planned Parenthood.

People who claim McCrory would be restricting access by signing the bill "are more interested in the politics of abortion than the health and safety of North Carolina’s women," said Kim Genardo, the governor’s communications director.

Morning Memo: It's all in McCrory's hands now

Lawmakers have gone home but the protestors are still coming — and their focus is Gov. Pat McCrory.

Planned Parenthood has organized a "stand with women" veto vigil for Monday and Tuesday outside the Governor's mansion on Blount Street. McCrory has said he will sign a bill passed in the final days of the legislature that opponents say will restrict access to safe and legal abortions. McCrory says the bill provides safeguards, not restrictions.

Good morning and welcome to the "It's-all-over-but-the-shouting" version of Dome's Morning Memo.

Two-day abortion bill vigil planned at governor's mansion

Following Gov. Pat McCrory’s confirmation on Friday that he will sign the omnibus abortion bill the Legislature sent him last week, abortion-rights advocates are planning a two-day vigil outside of the executive mansion in Raleigh on Monday and Tuesday.

The Planned Parenthood protest is expected to last at least 12 hours each day – from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. – to make a statement and serve as a last-ditch effort to convince McCrory to change his mind. Organizers contend McCrory would be going back on his word if he signs the bill because he made a campaign promise that he would approve no new restrictions on abortions. He contends the bill provides safeguards, not restrictions.

The legislation would require the state to develop new, stricter regulations of abortion clinics, which some contend could put them out of business. It would also deny insurance coverage for abortions for those participating in the coming state health insurance exchange, or for city and county employees; prohibit abortion for sex selection; and allow some additional medical personnel to refuse to participate in abortion procedures as a matter of conscience.

Also, the final “Moral Monday” mass protest will happen this week, even though the General Assembly left town on Friday.

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