North Carolina lawmakers pass abortion law over veto

RALEIGH, North Carolina Thu Jul 28, 2011 3:08pm EDT

Related Topics

RALEIGH, North Carolina (Reuters) - Women seeking an abortion in North Carolina will have to wait 24 hours, receive counseling and be presented with an ultrasound image of the fetus under an informed consent law passed on Thursday over the governor's objections.

Democratic Governor Beverly Perdue had vetoed the measure. But the state Senate voted on Thursday to override the veto, two days after the House of Representatives took similar action, which means the bill is now law and will take effect in October.

North Carolina joins 25 other states that require pre-abortion counseling that goes beyond basic medical "informed consent," according to Elizabeth Nash, public policy associate with Guttmacher Institute in Washington.

It is the tenth state to include the additional requirement of an ultrasound, which has drawn legal challenges in several states, Nash said.

The North Carolina law will require that an ultrasound image be presented and the sound of the fetal heartbeat be offered, though a woman is free to look away and ignore an explanation and medical description of what is on the screen.

Perdue, a Democrat and North Carolina's first female governor, vetoed the bill on June 27. In her veto message, she called the legislation a "dangerous intrusion into the confidential relationship that exists between women and their doctors."

Republican Representative Ruth Samuelson, the primary sponsor of the bill, has defended it as providing crucial information for women who are making a major and irrevocable decision.

North Carolina's General Assembly had been relatively moderate among Southern states in regulating abortion, but momentum for change grew last November when Republicans took control of both legislative chambers for the first time in more than a century.

Paige Johnson, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina, said this week that women don't need "state-scripted" counseling before they consent to a procedure they have already considered.

"Women give this decision great thought, and these legislators have passed legislation that assumes women are not capable of making this decision," Johnson said.

According to the latest figures available from the Guttmacher Institute, there were 33,140 abortions in North Carolina in 2008.

(Edited by Colleen Jenkins and Greg McCune)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see
Comments (4)
RussD wrote:
Typical for incompetent “liberal” fasicst “media” Reuters doesn’t even identify the legislation.

Jul 28, 2011 3:57pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
DrJJJJ wrote:
Planned parenthood is an oxymoron as is the ACLU!

Jul 28, 2011 4:58pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
mom2mzjm wrote:
I don’t understand why so many people hate this idea….they aren’t banning abortions, they are just making people go thru a bit more education before they make the spur of the moment or panicked decision to get an abortion right this very moment! When I was a teen, I was pro-life, as I am now. But I slipped up and was a few weeks late. I thought I was pregant and was on pins and needles freaking out. My BF at the time (now my hubs) was also panicked. If I was pregnant and had access, I would had an abortion then and there. Thankfully, not only was I NOT pregnant (I literally started my period as I peed in the cup to take a pregnancy test), but of course abortions aren’t that easy to get around here. If I had been pregnant, I don’t think I would have actually had an abortion. But in that instance, when I was thinking OMG, I can’t tell anyone about this, my parents will KILL me,etc….I know that feeling. I think this is a good idea. Please be informed before you make these hard choices that impact others lives. And for the people that will say “come on, we know all the facts…we’re intellegent, etc….”, I’m a very intellegent person, but when you are scared, you forget everything and just want to hide from problems. Abortion makes that temporarily easy to do.

Jul 29, 2011 2:47am EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.