Communications Department

District Judge Enjoins Ultrasound Requirement in North Carolina

Oct 25, 2011 | 2011 Press Releases

Other life-saving provisions of Woman’s Right to Know law take effect tomorrow

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Today, U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles issued a ruling enjoining the “Right to View” provision of North Carolina’s “Woman’s Right to Know” law from taking effect. The remaining provisions of the law will take effect tomorrow. The law was enacted in July over Governor Beverly Perdue’s veto and requires that mothers seeking abortion be given information about the abortion and that a real-time ultrasound image of her unborn child be displayed so that she may view the image before the abortion can be performed.

While we are happy that most of the provisions of the Woman’s Right to Know law will go into effect tomorrow, it is extremely regrettable that mothers will be unable to see real-time images of their unborn children kicking and moving inside the womb and hear their children’s heartbeat,” said Barbara Holt, president of North Carolina Right to Life.

Enacted by a bi-partisan override of Governor Perdue’s July veto, the informed consent law provides that a booklet containing scientifically accurate information about risks, alternatives and information on the development of the unborn child, compiled by the Department of Health and Human Services, be offered to the mother at least 24 hours prior to an abortion so that she might have the opportunity to read and understand the information.  The provision enjoined by Judge Eagles requires that an ultrasound image of the unborn child be displayed at least four hours prior to an abortion so that the mother might view it and that she be given the opportunity to hear the unborn child’s heartbeat.

“There are numerous precedents which impact other aspects of people’s lives where laws require information be provided, and in many cases displayed and orally described,” noted Mary Spaulding Balch, J.D., director of state legislation for the National Right to Life Committee. “Displaying the ultrasound image, and orally describing what the screen depicts, gives mothers another piece they need to make a more informed decision and reduce the chance that she will make a decision based on an incomplete understanding of the full dimensions of her decision, which might later produce terrible remorse.”

“We are confident that the Court, upon further review, will ultimately allow the ultrasound provision to take effect giving North Carolina mothers the opportunity to witness their living unborn children in the womb,” Mrs. Holt added.

North Carolina Right to Life (NCRTL) is the state affiliate of the National Right to Life Committee. Founded in 1968, the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the federation of 50 state right-to-life affiliates and more than 3,000 local chapters, is the nation’s oldest and largest grassroots pro-life organization.