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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Reproductive Rights

Extreme Anti-Choice Bill Becomes Law

Posted on in Legislative News

Yesterday, the NC Senate voted 29 to 19 to override the Governor's veto of HB 854, the incredibly inaccurately named "Woman's Right to Know." The bill would be more accurately called "Women Know Nothing" as that is the message it clearly sends to North Carolina women. The ACLU-NC strongly opposed this bill and urged Governor Perdue to veto it. When she did, herculean efforts were made to sustain her veto. Unfortunately, the override of the veto succeeded in the House because Representative James Crawford, a Democrat from Granville County, switched his vote, voting in favor of the override having voted against the bill in June.

Yesterday, Senator Stan Bingham, a Republican from Davidson County, decided to leave the building rather than vote on the bill, giving the Republicans the three-fifths majority they needed to override the veto. Senator Bingham voted against the bill in June and spoke out publicly about the bill. If he had voted "no" again yesterday, the override vote would have failed and the bill would not become law. The politics of this situation suggests that Senator Bingham was threatened with sanctions within the Republican Party if he voted against the bill so he choose to leave the building instead. Because Representative Crawford and Senator Bingham decided not to stand up and do what their earlier votes indicate they knew was right, women in North Carolina will be subjected to a government-imposed 24 hour waiting period, two pages of one-size-fits-all biased “counseling” written by politicians, not doctors, and an additional ultrasound that has to be placed in view of the woman and described in detail by the doctor before she may obtain an abortion.

The new law applies regardless of the circumstances of the woman and removes all discretion from the doctor to respond to her patient’s specific needs. This is an insult to the women of North Carolina.

The NC Senate passed HB 854 Abortion - A Woman's Right to Know in a vote of 29-20 late this evening. The bill came to the Senate floor after being heard and passed during an early morning Senate Rules Committee meeting. Debate was brief, but opponents of the bill made their objections known. Perhaps the most moving comments were from Dr. Purcell (D-Scotland), a retired pediatrician who saw two women bleed to death after "coat hanger" abortions prior to the U.S. Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade legalizing abortion. Senator Purcell reminded the Senate that lives are at stake when you unnecessarily burden women's access to abortion. He concluded by adding women “will do it again if you make it almost impossible to access a safe abortion.” Senator Mansfield, also a physician argued that nowhere else in North Carolina history has the legislature come between a patient and a doctor in this way or directed a doctor on how to develop a relationship with a patient, even for more dangerous procedures than abortion.

Several Senators pointed out that HB 854, which would better be called the “Women Know Nothing” bill, insults the intelligence of women. Senator Kinnaird added that it is ironic that this bill is coming from the party that claims to want to get government out of people's private business. In the end, the bill passed with all the Democrats and one Republican, Senator Bingham (R-Davidson) voting against the bill. The bill now heads to the Governor's desk. The ACLU-NC strongly opposes this intrusive bill. Call the Governor today at 919-733-2391 and ask her to oppose HB 854.

So Much for Small Government

Posted on in Legislative News

The NC House Judiciary Subcommittee B passed HB 854 Abortion - Woman's Right to Know Act this morning. The vote was 9 - 5 along party lines with all the Democrats opposing the bill. The bill, which would better be called the "Women Know Nothing Act" allows politicians to interfere directly with the doctor - patient relationship by requiring two pages worth of government scripted "counseling" by doctors before a woman may access the safe and constitutionally protected medical procedure of abortion. In addition, the bill undermines the spirit of Roe v. Wade by requiring a 24 hour waiting period, an ultrasound, that the doctor describe the ultrasound, and creation of biased and unnecessary counseling before a woman may terminate her pregnancy. The bill is now expected to be voted on by the full House early next week. Call your House Representative and ask him or her to oppose this bill which extends the reach of the government into the doctor's office.

In 1973, the US Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade, acknowledging that whether or not to carry a pregnancy to term was ultimately the pregnant woman's decision and protecting women's access to abortion. In his concurrence in Roe v. Wade, Justice Potter Stewart, citing several earlier Supreme Court cases, wrote, "We recognized ‘the right of the individual, married or single, to be free from unwarranted governmental intrusion into matters so fundamentally affecting a person as the decision whether to bear or beget a child.’ That right necessarily includes the right of a woman to decide whether or not to terminate her pregnancy."

HB 854 restricts access to abortion well beyond access to any other health care and interferes in this medical decision making in a way no other procedure is interfered with. The bill places substantial burdens on a woman already in a difficult situation and second guesses decisions that ought to be made by the woman and her doctor. The Government and politicians ought not to be mandating one size fits all counseling and ought to leave the practice of medicine to doctors, nurses, and other qualified health care professionals.

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