New legislation would all but end access to safe, legal abortions in North Carolina

Abortion protestWomen’s rights to make decisions about their own bodies took another blow yesterday and this time the strike was aimed at doctors too.

While proponents of women’s rights were still reeling from the anti-abortion Senate bill filed last week, HB 465 was introduced, yesterday, containing the most restrictive proposed abortion restrictions North Carolina has seen in a long time.

As is typical with anti-abortion bills, the new laws would make it harder for women, who have made a choice about their own body, by making them wait 72 hours, instead of the current 24 hour period, between asking for an abortion and being legally permitted to get one.

According to NARAL Pro-Choice NC:

[M]andatory delay laws such as these would endanger women’s health and “create additional burdens for North Carolina women, especially women in rural areas who often have to travel for many hours to reach a health-care provider, and for women who do not have the resources to take extra time off work or to pay for child-care.”

The real dagger in the bill, however, is how it would dictate doctor’s rights to make decisions based on his or her own ethics and education. Almost every provision of the bill would narrow the pool of doctors available to perform abortions, until North Carolina is left with zero doctors able to perform safe abortions—which is obviously the intent of the bill’s sponsors.

The bill would prohibit faculty at two of the state’s best medical schools, East Carolina University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, from performing or supervising performance of an abortion. This eliminates not only current doctors but will also prevent any future doctors from learning how to perform safe abortions. And just in case there was any chance UNC might still attempt to be involved in the performance of safe abortions, the bill would prohibit UNC Health Care Systems from contributing money or the use of any facilities for abortions.

The bill would further narrow the pool by allowing abortions to be performed by only obstetricians or gynecologists licensed to practice in North Carolina. In fact, a woman’s primary care doctor, is prohibited from even advising her regarding abortions.

So now we are left with a much smaller pool of doctors who can perform abortions–but they’re not done yet. How else can they limit doctors who haven’t been weeded out by the other provisions? Add in so many requirements that abortions will be too much of a hassle for doctors to perform.

Doctors will have to record detailed information about the “unborn child” including gestational age and ultrasounds with measurements. The bill would even require extensive records from doctors who perform an abortion for the health and safety of the mother. This information would then be submitted to DHHS but only after the doctors have taken the time to remove all identifying information.

The obvious problem with this bill is that it would force women to seek out unsafe abortions and lead to a host of other issues. The more understated problem is that there are some in our government who believe that, when it comes to women’s personal choices, they are smarter than doctors and more capable decision-makers than women themselves.

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