17 January 2023
RALEIGH, N.C. (WGHP) – Mark Robinson, the Guilford County native who rose to be lieutenant governor largely based on a reputation for making pointed and sometimes incendiary speeches, delivered one Saturday that clearly reinforced his opposition to abortion.
Robinson was the keynote speaker at North Carolina Right to Life’s 25th annual Rally and March for Life, and to the crowd estimated by the News & Observer to be about 1,000 he admonished abortion and said, “We have to stand up for life.”
The highest-ranking elected Republican in the state, Robinson is a presumptive candidate for governor in 2024, and his remarks seemed to embrace that possibility while also ignoring another reality: He and his wife once had an abortion.
Robinson’s remarks came after the U.S. Supreme Court in June abolished Roe v. Wade and its protections for access to abortion and opened new discussions in the North Carolina General Assembly about tightening the state’s current, 20-week limit on access to abortion.
Robinson, the ninth of 10 children, suggested to his audience Saturday that, had his mother been counseled by an abortion provider in 1968 (before Roe), he might not be standing in front of them, the News & Observer reported.
“Had my mother followed such evil advice, I would not be standing before you right now, having made history in this state as the first Black lieutenant governor of North Carolina,” Robinson said. “Children would not be able to flip open the history books and see that a poor child, number nine out of 10 children from a small town in North Carolina, could grow up to be the lieutenant governor of this state, quite possibly the governor of this state.”
Robinson, you may recall, rose to political prominence after he addressed the Greensboro City Council in 2018 about gun rights in a video that went viral, and since then he has not shied from a take-no-prisoners position on a variety of volatile topics, including LGBTQ rights, same-sex marriage and public education, to name a few.
He also published last fall a memoir, titled “We Are the Majority: The Life and Passions of a Patriot,” in which he briefly mentions the abortion he and his now wife, Yolanda Hill, obtained in 1989, before they were married.
He had said in a video in 2021 about their decision to have an abortion: “Sadly, we made the wrong one. This decision has been with us ever since. It’s because of this experience and our spiritual journey, that we are so adamantly pro-life.”
Robinson didn’t mention that on Saturday, and a spokesperson for his campaign didn’t respond immediately to an email on Tuesday seeking answers to follow-up questions.
But Robinson didn’t hold back on his feeling that North Carolina should become a “destination state for life.”
He said the state “can be a leader in the charge to stand up for life and to ensure people don’t go to the abortion clinics — not because there’s a law — but simply because they don’t want to. Because North Carolina is a place that makes life worth living and life worth giving.
He also said that “abortion is not compatible with this nation, the same way slavery was not compatible with this nation. How can you have life and liberty if you end life in the womb, and do not give people their freedom after they’re born? This nation is built on those ideals. And so we have to stand up for life.”
A Pew Research poll shows that about half of adults in North Carolina support abortion rights in all or most circumstances. About 45% are equally opposed. About 9 in 10 of respondents in a WGHP/The Hill/Emerson College Poll last May said there should be some access to abortion. Nearly half wanted the Supreme Court to uphold Roe v. Wade.
But Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Eden) and House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) are suggesting they could craft legislation during this session that might reduce the state’s window on abortion to 13 weeks, with some exceptions for rape, incest and the health of the mother.
Moore also implemented new procedures that could make it easier for the House to overturn an expected veto from Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper. The House lacks a supermajority of Republicans by one vote, but the GOP has achieved total control in the Senate.