North Carolina NOW Legislative Update #9
Three significant bills to protect LGBTQ rights were filed. Another bad anti-abortion bill was filed. A federal judge ruled a provision of another NC anti-abortion law unconstitutional. And a there is an update on a bill on female genital mutilation. The progress of tracked bills has been updated.
The complete legislative update #9 is available at here.
This week three significant bills to protect LGBTQ rights were filed:
The first bill (HB514, Equality for All) expands existing anti-discrimination law to include age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, military or veteran status, and genetic information—categories not covered by existing anti-discrimination law (yes, North Carolina has no state law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex—sex discrimination is covered only by federal law).
The second bill (HB515, Full Repeal of HB2) repeals the remnants of HB2, (the notorious “bathroom bill”) including the provision that no local anti-discrimination ordinances can be passed until after December 2020.
The third bill (HB516) establishes professional penalties for therapists and others who use “conversion therapy” on minors or adults with disabilities in an attempt to “cure” them of same-sex attractions.
For more information about all three bills, see: https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article228543209.html
Another bad anti-abortion bill has been introduced. SB359, Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, is based on a federal bill with a similar title. With bills like this, anti-abortion forces are trying to create the impression that there is widespread slaughter of full-term babies born alive after an abortion procedure, that no law prevents it, and no one is blowing the whistle—not doctors, nurses, technicians, or mothers. Of course, infanticide is illegal in all states and grey areas are already covered by a federal law, the Born Alive Infants Protection Act of 2002. In short, this bill is completely unnecessary at either the state or the federal level. But it does stir up political passions, and that seems to be its only purpose.
A provision of another NC anti-abortion law has been found unconstitutional by a federal judge. North Carolina was one of the earliest states to legalize abortion with a law passed in 1973 before the Roe v. Wade decision. This law prohibited abortion after 20 weeks with certain exceptions. The law was never enforced because it was in conflict with Roe v Wade, which passed the same year. But in 2015 this law was amended to place further restrictions on abortion after 20 weeks. Why amend a law that has never been enforced? Either to challenge the Roe v. Wade decision itself or, more likely, to have a stricter law on the state books in the event that Roe is overturned. At any rate, the strategy backfired, and the 20-week restriction itself was ruled unconstitutional. The ruling gives a 60-day window for the state either to appeal the decision or amend the law. Meanwhile, a bill to prohibit abortion after 13 weeks has been introduced this session. For a more detailed discussion, see: https://www.npr.org/2019/03/27/707073400/federal-judge-blocks-north-carolina-abortion-ban-after-20-weeks
SB9, banning female genital mutilation, has passed the Senate.
Find the whole legislative update #9, including summary and bills being tracked, at NC NOW Legislative Update #9.1Apr19.