Source: Editorial Board
The future of reproductive health care access is in jeopardy as North Carolina Republicans approved an extreme 12-week abortion ban. Senate Bill 20, would create additional barriers for those seeking safe and accessible reproductive health care and gets in the way of health care providers.
The bill also includes forced ultrasounds, which have been struck down by federal courts in the past, and mandates that the initial consultation occurs in person, creating financial and administrative hurdles for working people and out-of-state patients.
The controversial bill was passed within 48 hours with no opportunities for North Carolinians to comment and with no amendments.
The bill is on Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk and he will veto it on Saturday during a 10 a.m. rally across from the legislative building. Cooper underscored the potential impact of an abortion bill that would drastically reduce access to reproductive health care services for communities across the state.
“They’ve dressed this up as a 12-week ban, but it’s really not,” Cooper stated in an interview on CBS’ Face the Nation. “It will effectively ban many abortions altogether, because of the obstacles that they have created for women, for clinics and for doctors.”
Doctors across the state have joined in on pushing back against the 12-week ban and further abortion restrictions, with more than 1,200 health care providers signing a letter opposing any new abortion restrictions earlier this year.
“There are many flaws in this legislation, including the lack of clarity and how it will be interpreted. It creates chaos for providers,” stated Dr. Beverly Gray, an OB/GYN.
This chaos could lead to the deaths of women and pregnant people in North Carolina, according to a local professor.
In a recent editorial, Steven Greene, a political science professor in the School of Public and International Affairs at N.C. State University, highlighted the harms of crafting a bill that would be deadly to those seeking abortions after 12 weeks stemming from a pregnancy that is severely impaired or threatens their life.
“There have been cases where women were told they would literally need to hemorrhage for another day or two until their life was in imminent danger. Or, consider a case where a pregnant woman faces a 5% risk of kidney failure in continuing a pregnancy,” Greene wrote. “I cannot imagine too many legislators would want to be denied a potentially life-saving medical procedure in a situation like that, deeming it only about “health” rather than “life.”
“The undeniable reality — that we have already seen in other states — is that narrowly tailored exceptions consistently place women’s lives at risk during difficult pregnancies,” Greene added.
Cooper has stated that he will veto the harmful bill, and called upon Republican lawmakers who had campaigned to protect reproductive health to break from their party and uphold the veto.
“We only need one Republican to keep a promise,” Cooper said. “At least four Republican legislators made promises to their constituents during this campaign that they were going to protect women’s reproductive freedom. They only have a supermajority by one vote in the Senate, and one vote in the House. And we’ve seen Republicans across the country step up. We saw them step up in South Carolina, we saw them step up in Nebraska, because they know that people don’t want abortion bans.”