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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. 

RALEIGH – The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of North Carolina Legal Foundation, Planned Parenthood Health Systems, Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina, and the Center for Reproductive Rights filed a lawsuit today challenging the constitutionality of a new North Carolina law that requires abortion providers to show women an ultrasound and describe the images in detail four hours before having an abortion, even if the woman objects. The lawsuit, filed in the federal district court for the Middle District of North Carolina, alleges that the new law violates the rights of health care providers and women seeking abortions.

“Politicians have no business forcing health care providers to push a political agenda on their patients,” said Bebe Anderson, senior counsel for the Center for Reproductive Rights. “Two courts in Oklahoma and Texas have already blocked enforcement of these kinds of ultrasound requirements because they radically intrude on women’s private lives and violate basic constitutional rights.”

The new law, which the North Carolina General Assembly passed in July over the veto of Governor Bev Perdue, requires abortion providers to perform an ultrasound and place the image in the woman’s line of sight. The provider is then required to describe the embryo or fetus in detail and to offer the woman the opportunity to hear the “fetal heart tone.” While the statute allows the woman to avert her eyes and to “refuse to listen,” the provider must still place the images in front of her and describe them in detail. The bill makes no exceptions for women in any circumstances.