Yet another legal measure that seeks to further intimidate women from getting abortions.
There is a new abortion requirement that is causing major controversy in North Carolina (and frankly, should be causing controversy across the United States). The law, introduced by Republican Governor Pat McCrory, requires North Carolina doctors who perform abortions after the sixteenth week of pregnancy to send an ultrasound to state officials. Additionally, doctors must send an estimate of “probable gestational age” to the State Department of Health and Human Services. The law went into effect on January 1.
In North Carolina, it is illegal for women to get an abortion after 20 weeks (with medical exceptions).
Those who support this new law state that it will ensure that doctors aren’t performing illegal abortions. Gerrick Brenner, the executive director of Progress NC Action, compared the “creepy scheme” to “something out of George Orwell’s 1984” and I agree entirely. The matter of abortion should be between a woman and her doctor, not between a woman, her doctor and the state.
Hillary Clinton’s camp spoke out against the new law. In a statement to the New York Times, Clinton’s director of women’s outreach, Mini Timmaraju said:
“It’s shameful that Governor McCrory has decided to disregard the sanctity of a woman’s relationship with her doctor by allowing this new law to go into effec requiring government review of a women’s personal medical information.”
North Carolina is the third state to place the ultrasound requirement, following Louisiana and Oklahoma. The North Carolina law says that all doctor and patient information will remain confidential. A spokesperson for Governor McCrory told the New York Times that the law “includes common-sense measures aimed at protecting women’s health by ensuring medical professionals use proper safety precautions.”
I’m no medical professional, but I’m certain that sending an ultrasound with a “probable gestational age” to the State Department of Health and Human Services has nothing to do with protecting women’s health. If a doctor is unable to keep his or her female patient’s health and safety in mind without being monitored by the state, he or she should not have a medical license.
The law extends the mandated waiting period for women seeking an abortion from 24 hours to 72. According to the nonprofit Guttmacher Institute, North Carolina’s new waiting period makes it amongst the longest in the United States.