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

GREENSBORO, NC – A federal district judge today struck down a North Carolina law requiring abortion providers to show a woman an ultrasound and describe the images in detail four hours before having an abortion, even if the woman objects.

The court ruled that key provisions of the law violate doctors’ free speech rights. The law was challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of North Carolina, the Center for Reproductive Rights and Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

“Today's court ruling protects the rights of women and their doctors from the ideological agenda of extremist lawmakers,” said Jennifer Rudinger, executive director of the ACLU of North Carolina. “If these unconstitutional measures had gone into effect, doctors would have been prevented from using their best medical judgment to provide patients with care based on their specific individual needs. This law represented an egregious government intrusion into individuals’ private medical decisions, and we are very pleased that it will not go into effect.”

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RICHMOND, VA – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit will hear arguments from the ACLU-NC and the state of North Carolina on Wednesday, October 30, in a case challenging the constitutionality of a 2011 North Carolina law that would have allowed the production of a specialty “Choose Life” license plate but not an alternative plate with a message supporting reproductive freedom.

U.S. District Judge James C. Fox ruled in December 2012 that North Carolina's one-sided license plate scheme was unconstitutional, writing that “the State’s offering of a Choose Life license plate in the absence of a pro-choice plate constitutes viewpoint discrimination in violation of the First Amendment.” The state is appealing that ruling.

The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina Legal Foundation (ACLU-NCLF) filed a challenge to the law in 2011 on behalf of North Carolinians seeking a specialty license plate that supports a woman’s right to reproductive freedom. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, argued that the state’s plan violated the First Amendment by creating an avenue for private speech but opening it to only one side of a contentious issue.

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RALEIGH – The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina (ACLU-NC) today released its 2013 legislative report card, which rates members of the North Carolina General Assembly based on their votes on various pieces of legislation the ACLU-NC supported or opposed in the most recent session.

This year’s report card rates legislators based on how they voted on legislation in five issue areas: voting rights, reproductive rights, racial justice, privacy rights, and religious liberty. While the ACLU-NC supported several bills this year that would have improved protections of or expanded civil liberties, many with bipartisan support, none of the bills were given a final vote in the House and Senate. As a result, the report card rates legislators exclusively on how they voted on legislation the ACLU-NC opposed.

In the House, 15 members, or 12.5% of the body, had a 100% voting record in line with ACLU-NC positions, while 57 House members, or 47.5% of the body, had a 0% voting record.

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RALEIGH – Governor Pat McCrory signed a bill into law today that authorizes severe and medically unnecessary restrictions on women’s health clinics that provide abortions, officially breaking his 2012 campaign promise to sign no further restrictions on abortion. The law, which was included at the last minute as an amendment to a motorcycle safety bill, could block health centers from providing safe and legal abortion care. Doctors, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, oppose the bill because it interferes with the patient-physician relationship and harms the health of North Carolina women. 

“It is incredibly disappointing that Governor McCrory has broken his campaign promise and signed an extreme law that will severely restrict abortion access and comprehensive health care for countless North Carolina women,” said Sarah Preston, Policy Director of the ACLU of North Carolina. “Measures such as these, which can have a terribly detrimental impact on women’s access to much-needed health care, should not be rushed through the legislature with little opportunity for meaningful public input, as this one was.”

Thousands of North Carolinians contacted Governor McCrory asking him to veto and more than one hundred people were arrested as they protested the bill.  A recent poll shows that the Governor’s approval rating plummeted 15 percentage points after he indicated he would allow this bill to become law.

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