Mike Pence is in Raleigh today to speak with anti-choice groups—or pro-life groups, depending on one’s political persuasion—and visit a crisis pregnancy center.

According to WBTV, Pence will attend a roundtable at the Gateway Women’s Care Center and then participate in the “Life WINS!” event at Christ Baptist Church. Pence will speak at the church to highlight the current administration’s anti-choice stance.

WBTV also reports that Pence will join Susan B. Anthony List leaders at the event hosted by North Carolina native and SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser. Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Dan Forest, who’s challenging incumbent Roy Cooper for the governor’s seat this November, will also be in attendance.

The smooth-talking vice-president—memorably described by Washington Post columnist George Will as “oleaginous“—will speak to audiences primed to receive his anti-abortion message, but a recent Public Policy Polling survey reports that a “strong majority” of North Carolina voters believe in legal abortions. 

As it happens, Pence’s visit coincides with a complaint filed today in Wake County Superior Court by state abortion providers and reproductive-justice activists who say abortion restrictions disproportionately affect Black women and women in rural areas.

The complaint, filed by Planned Parenthood and the SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, challenges what the groups say are “medically unnecessary abortion restrictions that have pushed abortion out of reach in the state” and have “stigmatized essential health care.”

In a press release today, the groups said that the complaint is in response to decades of attacks on reproductive rights and health-care access by state legislators, which has resulted in abortion-provider shortages and an inadequate public health infrastructure across the state.

“The discriminatory policies violate civil reproductive rights and disproportionately impact North Carolina’s communities of color, particularly Black communities, as well as rural communities,” the release said.

Part of the irony behind Republican lawmakers’ anti-abortion stance is their decades-long call for less government—getting it down to the size where it can be drowned in a bathtub—unless it has to do with LGBTQ rights or a woman’s right to choose.

A new poll this month found that an overwhelming number of North Carolina voters strongly support a woman’s right to reproductive freedom: 74 percent of North Carolina voters think abortion should remain legal, while just 11 percent say they would consider voting for a candidate who supports banning abortion in the November election, according to a press release this week from NARAL Pro-Choice America.

The survey also found that, with Roe v. Wade in danger of being overturned by the Supreme Court, 60 percent of the state’s voters think it’s important for state legislators to protect abortion rights.

Even more striking: Half of all North Carolina voters who voted Trump in 2016 nonetheless support reproductive freedom and access to abortion.

Follow Durham Reporter Thomasi McDonald on Twitter or send an email to tmcdonald@indyweek.com.

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