N.C. Right to Life coming to capital expecting passage of informed consent abortion law
North Carolina Right to Life, Inc., will converge on the capital for their annual rally Saturday, but this time they will arrive confident in gaining passage of an informed consent law for abortion.
The proposed law, which the North Carolina Right To Life organization calls “A woman’s right to know” bill, would require abortion providers to ensure that women considering an abortion are fully informed. That information would likely include a review of a state-supported website that describes the process of gestation and the risks of abortion.
An informed consent abortion bill won House approval in 1997, when the House was controlled by Republicans, but it was blocked in the Democratic-controlled Senate. With Republicans now in control of both chambers for the first time in over a century, anti-choice advocates think the bill’s time has come.
The incoming House Majority Leader Paul “Skip” Stam began his political career as an anti-choice advocate. Incoming House Speaker Thom Tillis is scheduled to attend the group’s breakfast in Raleigh Saturday. Republican Senate leaders are also expected to support the bill.
Barbara Holt, NCRTL president, said of Tillis and incoming Senate President Phil Berger, “We believe them to be advocates for life and have no reason to believe otherwise. We supported their election.”
Melissa Reed, vice president of public policy with Planned Parenthood Health Systems in Raleigh, said Planned Parenthood would oppose an informed consent bill.
“It requires doctors to do scripted counseling and it interferes with the doctor-patient relationship,” Reed said. “It’s really a very troublesome bill.”
Holt said the law will require that the information be available, but women seeking abortions would not be required to read it. “They’ll know where to get the information. They don’t have to review it if they don’t want to,” Holt said.
Holt said the adoption of informed consent laws have led to a reduction in abortions, but opponents say the required information often attempts to influence rather than inform.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, 23 states require doctors to provide women with information about abortion, either verbally or in writing, before the procedure.
Holt said her groups will also push the legislature to eliminate coverage for abortion from the state employees’ health insurance plan and health insurance plans that cover students within the University of North Carolina system.
Saturday’s NCRTL program includes a 10 a.m. “Prayer Breakfast” at the Holiday Inn Brownstone Hotel in Raleigh followed by a 1 p.m., “Rally For Life” in Raleigh’s Nash Square.