Good Thursday morning!

๐ŸŒค๏ธ Weather: A slight chance of rain between 7am and noon. High of 73ยฐ.

Today's Smart Brevityโ„ข๏ธ count is 959 words โ€” a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: N.C. abortions plummet

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

The number of abortions performed in North Carolina fell 31% the month after the state implemented a 12-week ban and required in-person counseling before the procedure, Axios' Adriel Bettelheim writes.

  • In that same time frame, abortions declined just 7% nationally.

Why it matters: The ban, which took effect July 1, changed the landscape in one of the South's last havens for women seeking abortions.

What they found: There were 4,230 abortions provided in North Carolina's health care system in June and 2,920 in July โ€” a decline of more than 30%, according to the Guttmacher Institute, which supports abortion rights.

  • Requiring in-person visits before the procedure may be having a wider effect than the 12-week ban itself, by forcing some patients to take time off from work and pay for travel and child care.

Guttmacher found no corresponding increases in abortions provided in neighboring states like South Carolina and Virginia that would offset North Carolina's decline.

  • That means individuals who would have sought an elective procedure in North Carolina may have instead obtained abortion pills by mail or remained pregnant.

Catch up quick: North Carolina's Republican-controlled legislature in May overrode Gov. Roy Cooper's veto of a bill that lowered the state's limit for most abortions from 20 weeks to 12 weeks and requires patients to have in-person counseling at least 72 hours before the procedure.

  • The new law, which includes exceptions for rape and incest and certain fetal anomalies, remains one of the least restrictive in the South.
  • But Democrats led by Cooper argue the counseling requirement weighs heavily on poor people and those traveling from other states.

What we're watching: A six-week ban that South Carolina implemented in August could further alter abortion care in the South.

  • Abortion access is also looming over this fall's state legislature elections in Virginia, the last Southern state that hasn't banned or restricted abortion since the Supreme Court struck down federal protection of the procedure.

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2. ๐ŸŽก Get ready for the fair

After you eat this, you can follow it up with a bacon mac and cheese sundae. Photo: Alexis Clinton/Axios

The N.C. State Fair starts today and will continue through Oct. 22, Axios' Alexis Clinton writes.

Details: Fairgrounds open daily at 9am, except for today, when the gates open at noon. Gates close at midnight on weekends and 11pm on weekdays (but you must be in by 9:45pm).

  • It's located at 4285 Trinity Road in Raleigh.
  • Entry is $10-$13 for adults, $0-$7 for kids.

What's new: The fair added 54 new foods this year, including a dill pickle doughnut and bacon berry cookie dough on a stick.

Full guide: Everything you need to know about the North Carolina State Fair

3. The Tea: The latest news

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

๐Ÿ’ฐ Earmarks in the N.C. state budget will send billions of dollars to rural counties for infrastructure projects, like upgrading water and sewer systems in small towns. (News & Observer ๐Ÿ”’)

The father of the 11-year-old girl killed in last year's Raleigh Christmas Parade went before Raleigh City Council to voice the city wasn't doing enough to make its parades safer. (ABC11)

๐Ÿข The city of Durham has added 162 affordable rental units, with another 1,700 in the pipeline since passing an affordable housing bond in 2019. (INDY Week)

A 9-year-old transgender boy is suing North Carolina over a law that bans some medical treatments, like puberty blockers, for people under 18. (WRAL)

๐Ÿ” Raising Cane's will open its Chapel Hill location โ€” the fried chicken chain's first Triangle location โ€” on Nov. 7. (WCHL)

๐ŸŽฎ Epic Games' rival Unity named former Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst as interim CEO. (Reuters)

4. SECU's influential vote

Photo: Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Members of the State Employees' Credit Union of North Carolina โ€” the second-largest credit union in the U.S. โ€”ย voted to remove three board members who have pushed for big changes.

Driving the news: The votes come amid criticism of a move toward risk-based lending, Carli Brosseau of The Assembly reports.

  • Around 13,000 of SECU's 2.7 million members voted in the election and the challenge to the board was led by former CEO Jim Blaine, Business N.C. noted.

Why it matters: Historically, the credit union has offered its nearly three million members the same rates on loans, a rarity in the industry.

  • But under the new system members with higher credit scores receive better rates.

What we're watching: It remains to be seen if the change in the board's makeup leads to the credit union reversing its risk-based lending policy, which it began using on auto loans in March.

  • CEO Leigh Brady told reporters the credit union would continue a push to weigh credit scores for other types of loans.

Go deeper: SECU's fight over its identity

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5. ๐Ÿคช Go Bananas

Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images

Attention sports fans and "potassium enthusiasts": The wackiest baseball team in America is headed back to Durham in the spring.

Why it matters: The Savannah Bananas' unique blend of humor, dance and athleticism has made the team a touring sensation โ€” you'll need to act quickly for a chance at tickets, Axios' Tyler Buchanan writes.

How it works: The Georgia-based team is baseball's answer to the Harlem Globetrotters, with the yellow-clad Bananas typically facing their rival, the Savannah Party Animals, in pink.

  • They play under Banana Ball rules, which dictate a two-hour time limit, outlaw bunting and cause a batter to be out if a fan catches a foul ball on the fly.

The intrigue: You never know what you'll see at a Bananas game.

Details: The team's last appearance in Durham was sold out. Fans must join a lottery list by Dec. 1 for the opportunity to buy tickets.

  • Three games are scheduled for April 12-14, 2024 at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.

๐Ÿ’ Zachery is happy to see the Canes get back to their winning ways. Sorry, Canada.

๐Ÿฅฏ Lucille has been craving a bagel from Big Dom's in Cary.

This newsletter was edited by Jen Ashley and copy edited by Lucia Maher.