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Editorial: N.C. Gov. Can't Use Women's Safety 'Spin' on Abortion Delay Bill

Editorial: N.C. Gov. Can't Use Women's Safety 'Spin' on Abortion Delay Bill

April 28, 2015 — If North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) breaks his campaign pledge and signs a bill (HB 465) imposing a 72-hour mandatory delay before abortions, he will not be able to rationalize his actions by claiming the measure improves women's safety, a Charlotte Observer editorial states.

According to the editorial, McCrory already "turned his back on that [campaign] promise ... when he signed into law legislation [SL 2013-366] that made it harder and more costly for abortions to be performed." However, the editorial notes that while McCrory rationalized "that non-veto" by claiming that "he wanted to 'ensure women's safety,'" the "latest abortion bill ... doesn't offer him that opportunity for spin."

The editorial explains that the proposed measure -- which has passed the state House and now heads to the Senate -- "serves no demonstrable purpose other than to create emotional and financial hardships for women." Specifically, the editorial notes that the bill "doesn't protect women's health" because it "could cause women to delay the decision until later in pregnancy," which " goes against the advice of medical professionals, who say longer waiting periods for abortions could unnecessarily jeopardize women's safety."

Further, the measure "presupposes that women are unable to make up their own minds without further government intervention," the editorial states. The editorial adds, "That [is] not just what we believe," but "[t]hose are the words of another governor, Missouri's Jay Nixon [D]," who "had the political courage to veto" a mandatory delay measure (HR 1307) "even though he knew the legislature would override his decision."

According to the editorial, what happened to Nixon "could happen to McCrory," as the North Carolina House passed the bill "by a 74-45 margin, a couple of votes more than necessary to override a veto." Nonetheless, the vote should not prevent McCrory from "acknowledging the obvious -- that making women wait 72 hours after first consulting with a doctor or clinic ... doesn't protect women's health" and "could result in child-care complications and time spent away from work" or "could unnecessarily jeopardize women's safety" (Charlotte Observer, 4/24).