The war on women’s reproductive rights continues with the introduction of two new anti-abortion bills. See the whole summary and NC bills NC NOW is tracking in NC NOW 2019 Legislative Update #3.18 February 2019.
The first is SB51/HB54, frighteningly called Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment. This bill attacks late term abortion by banning a commonly used procedure called “dilation and extraction” or “D&E.” Another bill (HB28, introduced last week) attempts to block late term abortions by banning all abortion after 13 weeks. The sad truth is that almost all late term abortions end wanted pregnancies that have gone tragically, heartbreakingly wrong. This bill (SB51/HB54) does not take into account that the procedure it bans is also used to terminate pregnancies after the fetus has died and makes no exception for these cases. The procedure is rare (0.2% of terminated pregnancies). For more information, see: “No, Late-Term Abortions Don’t ‘Rip’ Babies Out Of Wombs — And They Exist For A Reason, 10/20/16, Forbes at https://www.forbes.com/sites/tarahaelle/2016/10/20/no-late-term-abortions-dont-rip-babies-out-of-wombs-but-they-are-needed/#395c7bd65cf8.
The second anti-abortion bill introduced this week is SB52/HB53, A Second Chance for LIFE. It is a more radical version of HB22 (introduced last week and misnamed the Woman’s Right to Know Act) that would require a physician to misinform women having medical abortions (the “abortion pill”) that the procedure is reversible. This new version requires the physician, immediately after administering the first of two drugs, to provide the woman written misinformation about the reversibility of the procedure prepared by the Department of Health and Human Services. In addition, she would be required to sign a statement that she received the information; the original would be permanently placed in her medical record, and she would be provided a photocopy.
Abortion bills were not addressed last session, and it is not clear if there would be enough votes this session to override a veto by the governor. We will monitor all four bills closely. Pro-choice advocates should contact their legislators to let them know that they oppose all of these four bills.
The good news this week is HB69, Nonpartisan Redistricting Commission. This bill is bipartisan and represents the best opportunity ever to end the extreme partisan gerrymandering that has been corrupting our elections. This is an unprecedented opportunity for reform because even though Republicans now hold comfortable majorities in both houses, they are extremely nervous about their chances of holding on to power after the 2020 elections;
The commission would consist of 11 non-political members—4 Republicans, 4 Democrats, and 3 others. The bill is detailed, serious and well thought out and needs a groundswell of public support. For more information, see: https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article226205125.html
The most outrageous bill introduced this week is HB65, Marriage Amendment Reaffirmation Act, which outlaws same sex marriage in North Carolina using spurious arguments that the landmark Supreme Court decision (Obergefell v. Hodges) legalizing same sex marriage is null and void North Carolina. The Whereas clauses that lead up to the text of the bill itself maintain that same sex marriage is a tenet of a religion called Secular Humanism; therefore, legalizing same sex marriage is an unconstitutional establishment of religion. I am not making this stuff up. The reasoning goes downhill from there. Expect this outrage to die in committee. (Update: see also “Bill filed to defy Supreme Court ruling, oppose same-sex marriage in N.C.“, 2/14/19, NC Policy Watch)
See the whole summary and NC bills NC NOW is tracking in NC NOW 2019 Legislative Update #3.18 February 2019.