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N.C. Bill Falsely Tying Abortions to Preterm Births Signed; Physicians Groups Criticize Legislative Interference

N.C. Bill Falsely Tying Abortions to Preterm Births Signed; Physicians Groups Criticize Legislative Interference

July 19, 2013 — North Carolina Gov. Patrick McCrory (R) on Thursday signed a sex education bill (SB 132) that will require public schools to teach students there is a link between abortions and future preterm births, WWAY reports (Phillips, WWAY, 7/18).

The law mandates that health classes for students in grade seven and above include lessons on "preventable causes of preterm birth, including induced abortion." The bill also lists smoking, drinking, illicit drug use and poor prenatal care as risk factors for preterm birth (Women's Health Policy Report, 7/1).

Opponents of the bill say there is no scientific evidence that having an abortion increases a woman's risk of future preterm births (WWAY, 7/18).

N.C. Lawmakers 'Getting Between Women and Their Doctors,' Ob-Gyns Say

On Wednesday, the North Carolina chapter of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the North Carolina Obstetrical and Gynecologist Society issued a joint statement opposing the abortion claim in the sex education measure and a bill (SB 353) that would tighten regulations on abortion clinics, the Raleigh News & Observer's "Under the Dome" reports.

The bills "have one purpose: To restrict the reproductive rights of women in North Carolina," ACOG Executive Vice President Hal Lawrence said in the statement. "As we've seen in several other states, legislators in North Carolina are getting between women and their doctors," Lawrence added (Jarvis, "Under the Dome," Raleigh News & Observer, 7/17).

SB 353 would allow the state's Department of Health and Human Services to "apply any requirement" that applies to ambulatory surgical centers to abortion clinics, as long as the regulations do not impede access to abortion. The measure also would require a physician to be present while the first drug used in a medication abortion is administered and includes various restrictions on insurance coverage of abortion. In addition, the measure would ban abortions based on the sex of the fetus (Women's Health Policy Report, 7/17).

The bill has passed the House and is awaiting consideration in the state Senate. McCrory has indicated he will sign it if it reaches his desk, even though he promised during his campaign that he would not sign any new abortion restrictions. McCrory explained his position on the bill by saying that the regulations are a safety issue, not restrictions ("Under the Dome," Raleigh News & Observer, 7/17).