Anti-abortion activists protest at Kay Hagan’s Charlotte office

(Courtesy Todd Sumlin | The Charlotte Observer)
(Courtesy Todd Sumlin | The Charlotte Observer)

CHARLOTTE, NC (Jim Morrill/The Charlotte Observer) - About 60 abortion protesters rallied outside Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan's Charlotte office Wednesday, hoping to influence not only North Carolina's Senate election but control of the entire Senate.

The rally, on a South Boulevard sidewalk, was organized by a coalition of anti-abortion groups including the Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee and Family Research Council Action.

It's part of what organizers call their "Summer of Life Campaign," which features rallies in the home states of five vulnerable Democratic senators, including Hagan.

Organizers are rallying support for a bill known as the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. It would ban abortions after 20 weeks.

"By turning a blind eye to this bill, Sen. Hagan proves that she is not only pro-abortion, she proves that she is anti-life," said David Benham.

He and his twin brother, Jason, made national headlines when HGTV canceled their house-flipping show before it aired because of David Benham's past comments on gay marriage and abortion.

A lone abortion-rights supporter stood nearby with her own sign.

Tami Fitzgerald, who heads the N.C. Values Coalition, said, "The abortion industry could always count on Kay Hagan. She has a 100 percent pro-abortion voting record."

Hagan, who opposes the bill, defended her record.

"A woman's health care decisions are between her and her doctor, and in the Senate, I have stood up for North Carolina women and worked to ensure they have access to preventive care, including contraception and cancer screenings," she said in a statement.

She also took a swipe at her Republican opponent, House Speaker Thom Tillis.

"I am deeply disappointed that the General Assembly in our state … has passed legislation that restricts a woman's access to health care and defunds Planned Parenthood rather than focusing on creating jobs and improving the economy," she said.

Tillis spokesmen could not be reached. But the Rev. Mark Harris, who lost to Tillis in the primary and attended the rally, said Tillis has a solid anti-abortion record.

"He has a proven record," said Harris, a Charlotte pastor. "We got some of the strongest pro-life bills through the last session."