Groups Challenge Constitutionality of N.C. Abortion Law

September 30, 2011 — A coalition of five groups -- the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of North Carolina Legal Foundation, Planned Parenthood Health Systems, Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina and the Center for Reproductive Rights -- on Thursday filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging the constitutionality of a North Carolina law that requires abortion providers to comply with specific requirements before a woman can have an abortion, ABC11-WTVD reports (ABC11-WTVD, 9/29).

In July, the North Carolina House and Senate separately voted to override Gov. Beverly Perdue's (D) veto of the measure (HB 854). The law, set to take effect in October, requires women to obtain an ultrasound and undergo mandatory counseling at least 24 hours before receiving abortion care.

Under the legislation, abortion is prohibited unless a woman receives state-specified information about the procedure, an ultrasound and a description of the ultrasound image. The woman does not have to watch the ultrasound screen or listen to the description, but she has to sign a document acknowledging that the description was provided. The document would have to be kept on file for at least seven years (Women's Health Policy Report, 7/29).

In their lawsuit, the five groups described the new regulations as an unconstitutional violation of the rights of providers and patients (Breen, AP/Greensboro News & Records, 9/29).