NC Gov. Bev Perdue Vetoes Abortion Restricting Bill

June 28, 2011 11:58 a.m.

Gov. Bev Perdue (D-NC) on Monday vetoed a bill that would have required women seeking abortions to wait for 24 hours and receive ultrasound images of the fetus along with descriptions of what they are seeing before having the procedure.

“This bill is a dangerous intrusion into the confidential relationship that exists between women and their doctors. The bill contains provisions that are the most extreme in the nation in terms of interfering with that relationship,” Perdue said in a statement to the Raleigh News & Observer.

The Woman’s Right to Know Act passed the state House by a vote of 71-48 last month and the Senate by a vote of 29-20 earlier in June. Both chambers were one vote short of the three-fifths majority needed to override the governor’s veto.

The legislation makes North Carolina one of several states this year with Republican majorities seeking to restrict access to abortions.

North Carolina would have joined 33 states in requiring a waiting period before women can have an abortion. Other states now require counseling before a waiting period, require women be informed of risks, and or require that materials promoting adoption be given.

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In other states, similar legislation has proven to reduce the number of abortions by up to 10 percent, according to the News & Observer. Currently about 30,000 abortions are performed in North Carolina each year.

Recent legislation that erodes the number of performed abortions without a direct ban have skirted the legal standards set by the 1973 Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade that restrict the ability of states to outlaw abortion.

However, six states now prohibit abortions after 20 weeks and 16 others are considering similar bills this year, including Ohio where lawmakers were set to vote Tuesday on a bill that would outlaw abortions even after six or seven weeks, when a heartbeat can be detected in a fetus.

The constitutionality of such measures have been questioned by those who point to the Roe v. Wade condition that abortions must remain legal until a fetus is deemed viable, usually at approximately 24 weeks. No legal challenges have been brought up in court as of yet.

North Carolina’s bill is just one of the pieces of abortion-restricting legislation that have been pushed through the GOP-controlled State legislature. Earlier this month, North Carolina became the third state to restrict funding to its Planned Parenthood clinics after the governor’s state budget veto was overridden by the House.

Another bill waiting for Perdue’s approval would create special license plates that say “choose life.” Proceeds would go to nonprofits that oppose abortion.

A poll conducted by the Civitas Institute in May showed that 56 percent of North Carolina voters support legislation such as the Woman’s Right to Know bill. Seventy-two percent of Republicans say they approve while Democrats harbor more mixed feelings with 55 percent in support. 600 registered voters were contacted for this poll.

Perdue’s veto was her tenth for the year, a record number for a North Carolina governor, as a score of bills came from Republican lawmakers in their final week before adjournment.

The North Carolina legislature may attempt a veto override next month with one more vote from each chamber upon returning to session.

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