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Reproductive Rights

The ACLU works to ensure that the government respects and supports reproductive freedom. We strive to secure a world that respects everyone's right to form intimate relationships and to decided whether and when to have children. 

RALEIGH – The North Carolina House of Representatives today approved a sweeping bill that would restrict access to abortion care for many women in North Carolina. H.B. 730 would allow public hospital employees to refuse to participate in abortion care if they object to such practices on religious or moral grounds, prohibit local governments from offering health plans that include abortion coverage to employees, and prohibit health care plans offered through the exchange under the Affordable Care Act from offering coverage for elective abortion procedures. The bill now heads to the Senate.

In response, the ACLU of North Carolina (ACLU-NC) released the following statement:

“This bill is just the latest example of politicians trying to take away women’s ability to make their own personal medical decisions,” said Sarah Preston, ACLU-NC Policy Director. “The provisions dealing with so-called ‘conscious’ protections turn the entire definition of religious liberty on its head. True religious liberty means that every individual has the right to make deeply personal decisions – including medical decisions – for themselves, based on their own beliefs. It does not mean that politicians or hospital workers get to force their own views on women by restricting their options on matters as personal and critical as reproductive health care. We urge the Senate to reject H.B. 730.”    

RALEIGH – A bill that would allow public hospital employees to refuse to participate in abortion care and private employers to deny contraception coverage to women because of their personal religious beliefs was approved by North Carolina House Judiciary Committee A today.

House Bill 730 now heads to the full House for a vote. In response, the ACLU of North Carolina (ACLU-NC) released the following statement:

“This bill would undermine a woman’s ability to make personal medical decisions and is the opposite of religious liberty,” said Sarah Preston, ACLU-NC Policy Director. “Politicians, employers, and hospital workers should not be allowed to force their personal religious views on women of different beliefs by making it harder for them to receive comprehensive and sometimes life-saving health care. We urge lawmakers to stand up for women and their right to make their own personal medical decisions by opposing House Bill 730.”  

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Today the North Carolina House of Representatives approved H.B. 716, a bill that would fine doctors for performing an abortion where sex selection is a “significant factor” in a woman's decision. It now heads to the state Senate. In response, the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina (ACLU-NC) released the following statement: 

“This bill undermines women who make the difficult decision to terminate a pregnancy by suggesting that they might do so for trivial reasons and should not be trusted to make their own health care decisions,” said ACLU-NC Policy Director Sarah Preston, who testified against the bill during a May 1 committee hearing. “Most North Carolinians agree that the government has no business placing itself between a woman and her doctor, but this vaguely worded bill would do just that, forcing health care providers to become interrogators out of fear of litigation from people who may have no relationship to the patient. We urge the Senate to reject H.B. 716.”

Read more about the ACLU-NC’s position on H.B. 716 here.

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The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina today criticized the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners for voting Monday to reject a state grant that would have funded reproductive health care and family planning services for women.

Jennifer Rudinger, Executive Director of the ACLU of North Carolina, offered the following statement:

“It is truly shameful that the New Hanover County commissioners refused nearly $9,000 in state funds that could have provided essential reproductive health care services to women through doctors’ visits, medication, and comprehensive family planning. Most American women use contraception at some point in our lives in order to plan responsibly, and for many of us, contraception can also aid with other medical conditions. Unfortunately, many low-income women and young women do not have reliable access to contraception. The state funds the County rejected could have provided these women with medical care they cannot otherwise afford or access. The state offered this money to the County without any strings attached and without any increased burden on taxpayers. The commissioners’ decision to reject this funding is appalling.

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GREENSBORO, NC - U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles granted in part a preliminary injunction today that will block enforcement of intrusive measures in the new North Carolina law requiring abortion providers to show women an ultrasound and describe the images in detail four hours before having an abortion, even if the woman objects.

Civil liberties advocates, including the ACLU of North Carolina Legal Foundation, the Center for Reproductive Rights, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and the American Civil Liberties Union, filed a lawsuit in the federal district court for the Middle District of North Carolina on September 29 challenging the constitutionality of the law, arguing that it violates the rights of health care providers and women seeking abortion care.

“We are extremely pleased that the court has blocked this clear attack on the fundamental rights of health care providers providing abortions in North Carolina,” said Bebe Anderson, senior counsel at the Center for Reproductive Rights. “The part of the law that the court blocked not only forces doctors to go against their medical judgment to deliver an ideological message to their patients, but also forces women to lie down and just take it. It’s hard to imagine a more extreme example of government intrusion into the private matters of individual citizens.”

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