NC’s anti-choice changes in 2015

The NC Legislature introduced and the Governor signed into law three bills interfering with choice – one interfering with safe and legal abortion, one pulling funds from Planned Parenthood, and one interfering with sex education in our schools – House Bill 465 (HB465), House Bill 297 (HB297) and Senate Bill 279 (SB279). One started bad (HB465), and one started as a good bill, but the good was gutted and bad was introduced (HB297) and the third (SB279) started as a stub. Here’s a bit of their stories.

HB465

House Bill 465 was discussed in many articles on the NC NOW site because of how outrageously bad it was.  The bill title changed, but started out as “72 Hours Informed Consent by Person or Phone” because the bill triples the abortion waiting period.  A 24 hour waiting period was imposed in NC in 2011 as part of the omnibus anti-abortion bill called “Women’s Right To Know Act.” HB465 imposed new restrictions on abortions including tracking doctors, but in earlier versions it was worse.

Originally, HB465 would have banned ban abortions (with few exceptions) in facilities connected to the UNC and East Carolina University medical schools.  It would have killed the Gynecology program, currently rated 5th in the nation.  See other things it would do at “Give a holler to Nelson Dollar to fight HB465!” 

On May 27th, 2015, the NC Senate tried a new tack to make HB465 seem palatable.  “[T]he NC Senate stuffed two of Senator Jeff Jackson’s no cost bills that are tough on crime into the anti-abortion bill, HB465.  They had snuck major changes into ‘edition 3’ of HB465 when they added them.  However, the requirement that only obstetricians or gynecologists can perform abortion procedures, added in edition 3, had already been altered in edition 4.”  Read more at “Covering an invasive bill (HB465) with 2 good bills.” Still a terrible bill.

HB465 passed the NC Senate on June 1, 2015.  HB465 tripled the forced waiting period from 24 to 72 hours, and starts DHHS tracking doctors, and women too.  HB465 forces doctors to send women’s personal medical records to DHHS for abortions starting at fetal age of 16 weeks.  But it had been worse.  According to News and Observer article, “NC Senate overrides marriage bill veto, OK’s abortion bill,” on 6/1/15, this is what happened in the NC Senate.

Sen. Terry Van Duyn successfully amended the bill to do away with a provision that only board-certified obstetric and gynecology doctors be permitted to perform abortions. Doctors who are sufficiently trained in abortions, abortion complications and miscarriages would also be permitted, under the new wording.

In the end, Governor McCrory signed HB465 into law on June 4, 2015, again refusing to learn why pro-choice organizations objected to the bill, and again going against his promise of no new restrictions to abortion.

HB297

Months later, in the frenzy of bad bills after the NCGA finally passed its extremely late budget in October, the Senate commandeered a really useful bill that was to make child support payments more efficient and effective and used it to attack Planned Parenthood.

HB297 had passed in the NC House, but the Senate hadn’t moved on it.  On “September 23, House Bill 297 was dusted off and brought back out of a Senate committee, but with all of the language about more effective child support taken out. In its place the put a few paragraphs banning the sale of fetal tissue,” as NC Policy Watch captured in “Legislature, McCrory approve another late-session assault on reproductive freedom

HB297 “would ban the donation of fetal remains for medical research unless a natural miscarriage has occurred, and it would ban state family planning funding for groups that provide abortions – a provision that targets Planned Parenthood. It’s unclear whether the bill would prohibit researchers from paying processing fees to acquire fetal tissue.” Read more in the News and Observer in “Bill targeting Planned Parenthood passes NC House, heads to McCrory

The Senate’s version of HB297 also cut off funding for all family planning and adolescent pregnancy programs conducted by Planned Parenthood.

It is clear that among the victims of the 2015 long NCGA session are women’s access to abortion, family planning programs, and also Planned Parenthood itself, when Planned Parenthood is a trusted and more affordable source of health care for many women.

SB279

This bill interferes with sex education in schools – changing the requirement for instructors to be experts in sexual health to being an expert in any of a number of fields, including ethics! 

Governor McCrory signed all three bills, and they are now law.  

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