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Abortion-Rights Groups Call on N.C. Gov. To Veto Mandatory Delay Bill

Abortion-Rights Groups Call on N.C. Gov. To Veto Mandatory Delay Bill

May 6, 2015 — A coalition of abortion-rights groups on Monday launched a campaign calling on North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) to veto legislation (HB 465) that would impose a 72-hour delay before an abortion, the Charlotte Observer reports (Morrill, Charlotte Observer, 5/4).

McCrory has not yet commented on whether he will sign the legislation (WLOS ABC 13 News, 5/4).

Bill Details

The legislation shares some provisions with a state Senate bill (SB 604) filed in March. Specifically, both measures would allow doctors to refuse to perform abortions if they say they have ethical, moral or religious objections to the procedure. In addition, both bills would institute additional reporting requirements.

The state House bill specifically requires physicians to provide the state Department of Health and Human Services with information about abortions performed during or after the 18th week of pregnancy. In addition, both the state House and Senate bills would require additional documentation for abortions performed after 20 weeks' gestation to demonstrate that continuing the pregnancy would have threatened the woman's life or substantially impaired her health. The state prohibits abortion after 20 weeks in other circumstances.

The North Carolina House last month voted 74-45 to approve the bill (Women's Health Policy Report, 4/24). The measure is awaiting action in a state Senate committee (Charlotte Observer, 5/4). If approved by the state Legislature and signed by McCrory, the measure would make North Carolina the fourth state to impose a 72-hour delay, joining Missouri, Utah and South Dakota (Women's Health Policy Report, 4/24).

Groups Urge McCrory to Veto Bill

For the campaign, a coalition of abortion-rights groups, including Progress NC Action and Planned Parenthood, has sponsored a billboard and launched a week-long tour throughout the state. According to the Observer, the billboard features a 2008 pledge from McCrory not to sign any additional abortion restrictions during his tenure.

Shoshannah Sayers, interim executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina, said during Monday's protest, "We find [HB 465] to be medically unnecessary, we find this to be bad medicine, we find this to be bad law and bad for the people of North Carolina" (Charlotte Observer, 5/4).

Meanwhile, Caitlin Owens, a health center manager at Planned Parenthood, said the bill would impose "[a]rbitrary state-mandated delays with absolutely no medical basis" that "are harmful and potentially dangerous to a woman."

According to WLOS ABC 13, the abortion-rights supporters called on McCrory to honor his alleged campaign promise that he would not sign any bills that would place more restrictions on abortion (WLOS ABC 13 News, 5/4).