Local/State

NC abortion law challenged

Thursday, September 29, 2011
court gavel NC Rep. Skip Stam

New restrictions on abortions in North Carolina are facing their first legal challenge.

The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of North Carolina Legal Foundation, Planned Parenthood Health Systems, Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina, and the Center for Reproductive Rights filed a lawsuit Thursday claiming the law approved over Governor Beverly Perdue's veto in July is unconstitutional.

The law prohibits an abortion unless a woman is provided with state-specified information about the physician at least 24 hours in advance. Women also would get information about the likely stage of development of the unborn child, the medical risks of having an abortion and giving birth, and the availability of abortion alternatives.

The ACLU said Thursday the law requires abortion providers to force women to undergo an ultrasound and forces doctors to describe the embryo or fetus to the women in detail prior to having an abortion, even if the woman objects.

Before the law was passed, North Carolina had been one of 16 states that don't require specialized counseling before an abortion. Half of all states require counseling, then a waiting period.

The Associated Press has reported the restrictions would cut the more than 27,000 abortions performed in NC each year and result in about 2,900 additional births per year.

It also reported a reduction in abortions will cost taxpayers about $7 million a year, mostly because nearly half of the births would be funded entirely or in part by Medicaid, the health program for the poor.

Republicans who supported the law in the General Assembly said the measure is designed to give women more information about what happens in an abortion and who is providing it. Social conservatives praised the bill, which also requires a woman consider an offer to see the shape of the fetus and hear a heartbeat.

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(Copyright ©2014 ABC11-WTVD-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved - The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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