Abortion bill filed in General Assembly

North Carolina State Legislative Office Building (Image source: Wikimedia Commons)
March 15, 2013 3:06:09 PM PDT
Controversy surrounds a new bill about abortions that was filed this week in the state legislature.

The bill has two parts. It would require doctors to stay on site after an abortion until the woman is ready to go home, and doctors would need to what are called admitting privileges at a nearby hospital to provide abortions.

Both of those things critics worry would have a chilling effect on access to abortions in North Carolina.

"I think this is absolutely intended to chill women's access to abortions," said Sarah Farber.

Like many, Farber sees the abortion bill filed this week as an assault on women's health and women's rights.

"I don't think the legislators, most of them aren't doctors and that's who I trust to make decisions about what's best for me to have outpatient medical procedures," said Farber.

"I think they're really taking this opportunity where they have the majority to really attack women's reproductive health," said Planned Parenthood's Melissa Reed.

Reed said she thinks hospitals worried about protestors might refuse to give abortion providing doctors those admitting privileges, which would effectively shut abortions down in the state.

"This is an attempt to do just that," said Reed.

However, State Senator Neal Hunt, one of the bill's sponsors, said while he would support outlawing abortions, that's not what this bill is all about.

"The woman needs to be protected," said Hunt. "Her health is paramount. If you're going to do this procedure, which I don't advocate, if you're going to do it, you've got to make sure it's safe."

"This bill is about pure politics and has nothing to do with patient safety," said Reed.

Reed pointed out that these days that many abortions happen with a pill -- one taken at the doctor's office and another taken at home. That's something Hunt's bill doesn't address.  The bill could change, but there's a good chance something like it could pass in the State Senate and House. If it does, all eyes, including Sarah Farber's, will be on Gov. Pat McCrory.

"I do think, given the way our legislation has been acting, that it would go to his desk for a veto and I hope that he would veto it and defer to doctors," said Farber.

ABC11 called and emailed the governor's staff asking whether he would support legislation that threatened to put a chill on access to abortions in the state. We were told by a spokesperson that the governor is not going to comment on pending legislation.

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