H.B. 854 passes NC House, onto Senate…women left out in the cold.

By Claire, Communications Intern

Yesterday the North Carolina House passed in a vote of 71-48 to pass H.B. 854.  This bill, patronizingly named “Woman’s Right to Know” would require an ultrasound, 24-hour waiting period, and a state-mandated script written by politicians that doctors would have to read to their patients.

This is an incredibly paternalistic bill that assumes women cannot make their own decisions without the state looking out for them.  It assumes that women do not think long and hard about motherhood and the decisions they make towards it.

Women would have to pay for their own ultrasounds, and if they cannot pay they can go get a free one at any one of our state’s crisis pregnancy centers, further pushing an obvious anti-choice agenda.  They would have to wait 24 hours from the moment they schedule their appointment, and the ultrasound must be performed 4 hours before the abortion can take place.  These restrictions will be required even in the case or rape, incest or threat to the mother’s life.  It is an outrage and an insult.

Republic Ruth Samuelson, (R-Charlotte) who sponsored said “This is about respecting women.  This bill keeps abortion legal. It keeps abortion safe. And, by golly, we know it helps make it more rare. It is still her choice. It makes it her informed choice.”  By making it more rare, we do not empower women to make their own choices.  The new-found rarity will be simply be all the women who cannot afford the time or money required to get one.  Emphasis mine.

Only a handful of counties actually offer abortion services.  Many women, especially those who have to work full-time or have inflexible schedules would be forced to take unnecessary work leave for their abortions.  Many women, in these tough economic times, do not have the luxury of time-off.  Likewise, many women who seek abortion are already mothers who equally do not have time as they try to provide for their families.  These women already know what choice they have to make.

The Representatives who passed this bill are using women as a tool to maintain power.  We have seen this for months.  Instead of trying to create more jobs or fix the unemployment problem in other ways, the “leaders” in our government have gone after any excuse to restrict anything connected to abortion services.  They started under the guise of tax-payer money and have moved to regulating services that women and their insurance (if they have it) pay for themselves.  They are using “moral outrage” to hide from their constituents.   Women and the poor are paying the price. Governor Perdue puts it nicely in her statement over the decision.

“The legislature should be focused on what they said they would focus on: creating jobs and strengthening education.  Government has no role interfering in the relationship between a doctor and a patient. Legislative leaders who vow to make government less intrusive and to protect individual freedom are advancing a bill that does just the opposite.”

More information will be coming out in the next hours.  This bill still has to go to the Senate.  It is known as S.B. 769.  Please contact your Senators

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