Abortion rights restricted in North Carolina
Summary of story from Citizen-Times, July 29, 2011
Abortion rights in North Carolina are facing new restrictions after a narrow state Senate vote overturned the governor’s veto of new legislation requiring women to wait 24 hours and receive state-mandated counselling before undergoing the procedure.
Women also will be given information about the likely stage of development of the fetus, the medical risks of having an abortion and giving birth and the availability of abortion alternatives.
The law goes into effect in 90 days.
“This new law gives women every opportunity to know all the facts about abortion and how they can let their babies live,” said Meredith Eugene Hunt, a Life Advocates spokesperson.
Opponents strongly disagreed. “This will mean some very dramatic changes for women considering an abortion,” said Senator Martin Nesbitt who opposed the bill.
“This is probably the most draconian abortion legislation of its kind that we’ve seen across the nation.”
The Republican-led legislature completed its override of Governor Bev Perdue’s veto of the Women’s Right to Know Act with a 29-19 party-line Senate vote, the minimum three-fifths majority of those present required.
Supporters say the law will protect women from misinformation about abortions and make them better informed about the emotional and medical ramifications of the procedure.
“It will inform them about how they can find a better solution to their situations, even if they already have made a decision,” Hunt said.
“Because even after a woman walks into the clinic door, it’s not too late for her to change her mind.”
But Dr Donna Burkett, a family practitioner and affiliate medical director at Planned Parenthood Health Systems, said the restrictions are a needless intrusion into the doctor-patient relationship.
“Physicians have a legal and ethical code of conduct already in place for discussing any medical procedure with a patient,” Burkett said.
“This goes above and beyond setting those standards, requiring me to give biased and ‘one size fits all’ advice to women in very different situations.”
Under the law, doctors who fail to follow all the new regulations could be sued by a range of people, including a woman who received an abortion or was close to getting one; her spouse, parent, sibling or guardian.