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Reproductive Rights

The ACLU works to ensure that the government respects and supports reproductive freedom. We strive to secure a world that respects everyone's right to form intimate relationships and to decided whether and when to have children. 

By Susanna Birdsong, ACLU-NC Policy Counsel

Today, HB 297—End Marketing/Sale Unborn Children Body Parts passed the House and heads to Governor Pat McCrory's desk.  If the governor signs the bill it will become law.

As you process that bill title, you’re probably asking important questions.  “Is this something that is actually happening?  Why do we need legislation like this?”  The short answer is no, this is not actually happening.  It is against federal law to sell fetal tissue, and there hasn’t been an instance of this law being broken—in North Carolina or any other state—that prompted this bill.  Rather, it is the product of recent attacks on Planned Parenthood, subsequent to the release of a series of videos made by antiabortion activists earlier this year.  Although the makers of the videos claim that they prove Planned Parenthood illegally profits from fetal tissue donation, inquiries in multiple states since the videos’ release have confirmed that this is decidedly not the case.  Despite this, measures have been introduced in Congress and in various state legislatures that aim to use the issue of fetal tissue donation to punish Planned Parenthood and further restrict women’s access to health care.  And sadly, North Carolina is no exception.

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WASHINGTON – The U.S. Supreme Court today announced that it would not review a ruling striking down North Carolina’s 2011 law that would have forced a woman to undergo a narrated ultrasound before receiving abortion care. The Court’s decision means the law, which had been challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups, cannot go into effect.

“North Carolinians should take comfort in knowing that this intrusive and unconstitutional law, which placed the ideological agenda of politicians above a doctor’s ability to provide a patient with the specific care she needs, will never go into effect,” said Sarah Preston, acting Executive Director of the ACLU of North Carolina. “We’re very glad the courts have recognized that politicians have no business interfering in personal medical decisions that should be left to a woman and her doctor.”

In December 2014, a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in December 2014 affirmed that the law violates the First Amendment rights of physicians by forcing them to deliver politically motivated communications to a patient even over the patient’s objection, declaring that “transforming the physician into the mouthpiece of the state undermines the trust that is necessary for facilitating healthy doctor-patient relationships and, through them, successful treatment outcomes.”

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RALEIGH – On Friday, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signed HB 465, a bill that will triple the mandatory waiting time for abortion care to 72 hours, making North Carolina only the fifth state in the nation with such a lengthy forced delay. During his 2012 campaign for governor, McCrory vowed to sign no further restrictions on abortion access.

“For the second time, Governor McCrory has broken his promise to sign no new restrictions on abortion access in our state, making it clear that he does not respect a woman’s ability to make her own personal health care decisions,” said Sarah Preston, acting Executive Director of the ACLU of North Carolina. “This shameful law will do nothing to help women in North Carolina. Instead, it will force a woman to endure an unnecessary and potentially harmful delay before receiving the care that she and her doctor have decided is right for her.”

In 2013, McCrory signeda bill that authorized severe and medically unnecessary restrictions on women’s health clinics that provide abortions

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RALEIGH –The North Carolina Legislature today passed HB 465 requiring a woman who has decided to have an abortion to delay her abortion by at least 72 hours. North Carolina would be one of only five states to mandate such a lengthy forced delay requirement.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina are calling on Gov. Pat McCrory to veto the bill.

During his 2012 campaign, Gov. McCrory vowed to sign no further restrictions on abortion access in the state.

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RALEIGH – The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of North Carolina is urging the North Carolina General Assembly to reject HB 465, a bill that would triple North Carolina’s mandatory waiting period for women seeking abortion care to 72 hours and prevent many qualified doctors, such as family practitioners, from providing abortion care to their patients. A new version of the bill was passed by the North Carolina Senate Judiciary Committee today and is expected to reach the Senate floor for a vote without delay. The North Carolina House would need to vote to concur with the Senate’s version before the bill is sent to the governor.  

“This bill jeopardizes a woman’s health and restricts her care options by denying medical services when she and her doctor have decided they are necessary,” said Sarah Preston, acting Executive Director of the ACLU of North Carolina. “A woman is more than capable of taking the time she needs to make her own important and personal medical decisions without a forced 72-hour delay. The government should not use bullying tactics to interfere in a woman’s private medical decisions by creating unnecessary delays and preventing qualified doctors from performing a medically safe procedure. We call on the General Assembly to reject these harmful and unnecessary restrictions.”

Only four other states in the nation (Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Utah) have 72 hour waiting periods for abortion care. According to the Guttmacher Institute, abortion is an incredibly safe procedure with less than 0.05 percent of abortions resulting in complications requiring hospital care. 

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