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Republicans Ignore North Carolinians’ Interests On Abortion Access

Source: NC Policy Watch

A new poll from Meredith College finds that most North Carolinians support preserving the abortion rights currently enjoyed or expanding them. This polling comes as health professionals have warned about the impact of abortion limits, with Duke University doctors recently warning that abortion restrictions North Carolina Republicans are considering will endanger patients’ health and increase the maternal mortality rate.

“We are seeing that these bans are impacting patients, making them less safe,” stated Dr. Brenna Hughes, chief of Maternal-Fetal Medicine during a video news conference. “ It is leading to physicians feeling unable to move forward and care for patients the way that they would want to, for fear of being prosecuted for providing appropriate patient care.”

Since the overturn of Roe v. Wade, State Republican legislative leaders have been vocal about stripping away reproductive health rights. Last year, House Speaker Tim Moore stated that passing anti-abortion restrictions would be a “top priority” for the 2023 session, in a statement released after the conservative-leaning Supreme Court’s ruling.

Moore would later express support for the controversial “heartbeat bill”, while Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger advocated for a ban around 13 weeks of pregnancy.

Duke doctors have cautioned against these measures, stating that more people would face birth trauma with a six-week or 13-week ban. 

During the news conference, Dr. Hughes shared that most people are unaware that they are pregnant at six weeks, and 13 weeks is too early to see most fetal abnormalities. Most patients start receiving prenatal care at about 12 weeks and have not had an ultrasound.

“Unless there was essentially a completely fatal abnormality that could be seen very early, it would mean that we would miss the vast majority, over 90% of anomalies if we were to start evaluating before 13 weeks and think about providing care at that time,” stated Dr. Hughes. 

Despite warnings and overwhelming opposition to these measures, last month, Moore told reporters that the House and Senate Republicans would work on a bill to restrict access to critical reproductive health care

While North Carolina Republicans are attempting to dismantle the south’s last safeguard for abortion access, people in states like Florida, Texas, and Louisiana are feeling the impact of Republicans’ efforts to restrict the crucial freedom. Numerous reports and stories are highlighting the stark, and devastating reality of restricting care, including an out-of-state patient taking a six-hour ambulance ride to receive emergency services.

As North Carolina Republican lawmakers continue to eye abortion restrictions, these findings, reports, and stories underscore the disconnect between Republican lawmakers and their constituents. 

“Over the last several weeks, it’s become clear that Republican leadership is more than eager to drag us backwards,” stated House Democratic leader Robert Reives.

In response to state Republicans’ efforts to strip away reproductive rights from millions of North Carolinians, state Democrats have introduced a pair of bills that would protect access to abortion care in North Carolina by codifying the protections of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, into state law. All Democratic members of the State House and Senate have signed on in support of the measure.

“We’re hoping that through this we are going to be heard by the people that matter, and that’s the citizens in the state and most importantly the women in this state,” stated Rep. Becky Carney, a Mecklenburg Democrat during a press conference earlier this month. “They are listening, they want action.”

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