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North Carolina bill to increase waiting period for abortion from 24 hours to 72 hours to go to Governor

by | Jun 5, 2015

By Dave Andrusko

northcarolina_flagAfter a few procedural steps are completed, a bill enacting a 72-hour waiting period will reach the desk of North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, who has said he will sign the bill into law.

When McCrory does, North Carolina will join Utah, Missouri, and South Dakota as states that provide for a three-day period of reflection before women finalize a life and death decision. Oklahoma’s identical waiting period goes into effect in November.

As is often the case in legislatures, the bill ping-ponged back and forth between the House and Senate. While House Bill 465 now includes additional provisions not in the original House bill, the important point from a single-issue perspective is that the waiting period will soon be law.

When the House Health Committee first approved the measure 20-10, during the debate, 10 of the 11 women lawmakers heard from supported HB 465.

Dr. Melinda Snyder said many women feel coerced into having an abortion, according to Jim Morrill of the Charlotte Observer. “I’ve never known an (abortion) that couldn’t wait for a few hours,” she said. “It’s an irrevocable decision.”

Morrill also reported that

Elena Smith told lawmakers she was at a clinic, prepared for an abortion, when she decided to wait and have an ultrasound.

“If I had not waited … my son Christian would not be here today,” she said. “And neither would his two beautiful sisters.”

“The poorest decisions that we make are the ones we make under pressure and on impulse,” said sponsor State Rep. Jacqueline Schaffer. “We want women to be equipped with the right information as they are going to make that decision.”

Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Melissa Reed spoke to reporters after the hearing Wednesday, calling the hearing “a total sham.”

“It is already shameful that legislators are putting their own political ideologies over women’s health with this bill, but to then silence the voices of those who seek to remove politics from health care is truly deplorable,” she said, Morrill reported.

Categories: Legislation