North Carolina Senate overrides veto on abortion waiting period bill

[JURIST] The North Carolina Senate [official website] Thursday voted 29-19 to override a veto [roll call vote] by Governor Beverly Perdue [official website] on legislation [HB 854 materials] that would require a 24-hour waiting period before receiving an abortion [JURIST news archive]. The vote means the legislation will become North Carolina law as the House of Representatives [official website] also voted to override the veto [JURIST report] on Tuesday with a 72-47 vote [News-Record report]. The measure, known as the "Women's Right to Know Act," would require a physician to provide information to the woman regarding gestation, the risks of abortion procedures, abortion alternatives and federal medical benefits available. The law also requires women seeking an abortion to view an ultrasound of the fetus prior to the procedure. Senator Martin Nesbitt (D) called the law "draconian" [Citizen Times report] and said women seeking abortions will face dramatic changes once the law takes effect, while supporters contend that the new law will give women the opportunity to "know all the facts" about abortion. The legislation, which had originally passed the House 71-48 and the Senate 29-20, will take effect in 90 days.

The North Carolina government is one of several state legislatures to have acted recently to limit abortion rights. Both Texas and Florida [JURIST reports] have recently passed bills requiring ultrasounds before abortions. Last month, the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) [advocacy website] filed a lawsuit challenging the Texas law [JURIST report]. In March, South Dakota passed a law requiring a three-day waiting period [JURIST report] before an abortion—the longest waiting period in the country. That law is also facing a court challenge [JURIST report]. Multiple states have acted to ban abortions after 20 weeks, when some studies suggest a fetus can begin feeling pain, including Missouri, Indiana, Alabama, Ohio, Oklahoma, Kansas and Idaho [JURIST reports].

 

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