July 1, 2013 — The North Carolina House on Thursday approved a sex education bill (SB 132) after amending language on abortion meant to appease opponents who thought it went too far, the WNCN reports. The measure now heads back to the Senate for final approval (Huffman, WNCN, 6/27).
The bill -- sponsored by state Sen. Warren Daniel (R) -- would mandate that health classes for students in grade seven and above include lessons on "preventable causes of preterm birth, including induced abortion" (Women's Health Policy Report, 5/15). The bill also lists smoking, drinking, illicit drug use and poor prenatal care as risk factors for preterm birth (Leslie, "NC Capitol," WRAL, 6/26).
House lawmakers voted 110-4 to pass an amendment (S132-A-NBC-437) that changed the bill's language from stating that abortion is a "cause" of preterm birth to a "risk" for preterm birth (WNCN, 6/27). Most health organizations, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and CDC, do not consider a prior abortion to be a risk factor for preterm birth.
Lawmakers rejected amendments that would have required lessons to mention either all or no risk factors for preterm births, such as including previous miscarriages and a previous pregnancy within six months ("NC Capitol," WRAL, 6/26).
Some lawmakers said including information about abortion is not age appropriate.
State Rep. Rick Glazier (D) said, "We aren't willing to let them learn about condoms, but we are sure willing to let them learn about abortions." He added, "This is opening Pandora's Box. It's unfair to schools, unfair to children, unfair to families."
State Rep. Skip Stam (R) defended the bill, saying, "We want teenagers before they get pregnant to realize that there's a consequence of induced abortions on their future child bearing abilities" (WNCN, 6/27).