Source: NC Policy Watch
Since the overturn of Roe v Wade, Republicans across the U.S. have attempted to strip away reproductive healthcare access through numerous avenues, including access to abortion pills.
In North Carolina, the battle over abortion pill access is rooted in a lawsuit filed by a local OB/GYN who sued the state, the NC Medical Board and others due to the hurdles patients must navigate before they can take the pill.
In January, Dr. Amy Bryant, an obstetrician and gynecologist who practices in Orange County, filed the lawsuit, saying that the state’s current restrictions impose “significant cost and burdens” on Bryant and her patients.
According to N.C. Policy Watch, the state law says “only doctors can prescribe it, and as in surgical abortions people must wait 72 hours after receiving counseling before they can take the pill. Patients must take the pill in the presence of a doctor. Telehealth appointments are prohibited.”
“As a physician, my number one priority is the health and well-being of my patients,” Dr. Bryant said in a statement.
“We know from years of research and use that medication abortion is safe and effective – there’s no medical reason for politicians to interfere or restrict access to it, or for states to force doctors to comply with mandates not supported by medicine or science. These burdensome restrictions on medication abortion force physicians to deal with unnecessary restrictions on patient care and on the healthcare system”.
Despite North Carolina abortion providers seeing a huge increase in in-state and out-of-state patients seeking abortion care, state Republicans are pushing forth laws to restrict vital reproductive freedom.
Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore have expressed their desire to defend the current state laws in the lawsuit. This comes after Attorney General Josh Stein’s office announced that it ruled in favor of the objection raised by Dr. Bryant to state restrictions in the lawsuit. Stein, who is refusing to defend the state’s restrictions in court, argues that the restrictions are “preempted by federal regulations protecting access to the pills”, the Associated Press reported.
State Republican leaders have always expressed support for the controversial “heartbeat bill” and a 13-week abortion ban.
“Pregnant people shouldn’t be singled out by out-of-touch lawmakers to be forced to comply with restrictions that we don’t place upon any other kind of necessary medical care,” Genevieve Scott, Senior Counsel for the Center for Reproductive Rights, told ABC11.
North Carolina remains the last safeguard for abortion access to millions of Americans across the southeast of the U.S.