@NCCapitol

ACLU, Planned Parenthood sue over NC abortion law

Posted September 29, 2011

— Several groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood, filed suit Thursday to overturn a new state law requiring women to undergo counseling and wait 24 hours before obtaining an abortion.

Lawmakers passed the law, known as the Woman's Right to Know Act, in July over Gov. Beverly Perdue's veto. It doesn't take effect until late October.

In addition to a waiting period, the law requires that the woman have an ultrasound within 72 hours of the planned abortion and have the images of the fetus within view and be offered the opportunity to listen to the fetal heartbeat.

Meanwhile, the health care provider must explain the age, size, position and physical features of the fetus. The law also requires the provider to tell a woman seeking an abortion that alternatives like adoption are available, that she may be able to get medical assistance, welfare and food stamps to help her with living expenses if she keeps her child and that the father of the child could be sued for child support.

The lawsuit alleges that the requirements violate the rights of women and health care providers.

"Politicians just should not be interfering with the doctor-patient relationship in this way," said Katy Parker, legal director for the ACLU of North Carolina Legal Foundation.

Melissa Reed, Planned Parenthood's vice president for public policy called the law "mean spirited, dangerous and unconstitutional."

"This really treats women as children, as if they don't already make a majority of the nation's health care decisions based on intelligence and moral fortitude," Reed said.

Rep. Nelson Dollar, R-Wake, said the goal of the law is to reduce the number of abortions in North Carolina by ensuring women have as much information as possible about fetal development and alternatives to ending their pregnancies.

Ultrasound, sonogram, fetus Groups allege NC abortion law violations women's, doctors rights

"We don't believe that information is really being provided," Dollar said. "By ensuring that information will be provided, women can make an informed choice."

He also fired back at Planned Parenthood's stance that lawmakers are interfering in the doctor-patient relationship.

"Planned Parenthood is the political animal here," he said.

Bebe Anderson, senior counsel for the Center for Reproductive Rights, which also is taking part in the lawsuit, said courts in Oklahoma and Texas have already blocked ultrasound requirements in those states.

"(The North Carolina law) turns doctors into mouthpieces for politicians' ideological message," Anderson said.

Planned Parenthood recently won a court challenge to North Carolina's state budget, which included a provision that would have blocked the organization and its affiliates from receiving any contracts or grants from the state Department of Health and Human Services.

The group said the funding ban violated its free-speech protections because it advocates for abortion rights. A federal judge stopped the ban from taking effect until the suit could be heard.

State and federal law prevent the use of public money for abortions, but Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina receives more than $200,000 a year from the state to provide family planning, primary health care for low-income women and tests for sexually transmitted diseases.

408 Comments

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  • elcid liked Ike Sep 30, 1:12 p.m.

    "I don't disagree, elcid, but we are saddled with the argument we are given."

    I agree. Roe couched in in terms of a right to privacy. Planned Parenthood v. Casey introduced undue burden into the mix. Speaking frankly, Roe erred in trying to strike a balance between the mother and the fetus. As long as it is inside her, she alone controls (and alone should control) decisions about what happens to it. While that stance opens some doors that people won't like, doing anything less infringes on the rights of the mother for the benefit of something that legally has no rights to protect.

  • Scaramouche Sep 30, 1:02 p.m.

    I don't disagree, elcid, but we are saddled with the argument we are given.

  • elcid liked Ike Sep 30, 12:51 p.m.

    "While you are at it though, and since you obviously know nothing about teh issue, abortion is covered under right to privacy pursuiant to Roe vs. Wade."

    It would much better have been couched in terms of gender equality, IMO. Abortion bans unavoidably burden women more than men, and as such violate equal protection.

  • Scaramouche Sep 30, 12:41 p.m.

    "If anything, the law IS Constitutional as it protects the health and welfare of an American citizen ("

    No it doesn't. It in no way protects the health of the woman.

    "including a fetus) which IS in the Constitution"

    a fetus isn't a citizen. That also isn't in the constitution.

    While you are at it though, and since you obviously know nothing about teh issue, abortion is covered under right to privacy pursuiant to Roe vs. Wade.

  • uncw05 Sep 30, 12:38 p.m.

    skipp- citizenship is based on your location of birth, how can you be a citizen if you haven't been born yet?

  • wildcat Sep 30, 12:37 p.m.

    A fetus is not a citizen. In fact, legally it isn't even a person. You may disagree with that, but it's the status quo nonetheless.

    elcid liked Ike

    You are right and I agree.

  • elcid liked Ike Sep 30, 12:29 p.m.

    "If anything, the law IS Constitutional as it protects the health and welfare of an American citizen (including a fetus) which IS in the Constitution."

    A fetus is not a citizen. In fact, legally it isn't even a person. You may disagree with that, but it's the status quo nonetheless.

  • wildcat Sep 30, 12:27 p.m.

    Its a womans or young lady's right. No one has the absolute right to tell another person what to do. Everyone know the rights and wrongs. We do make mistakes. We do make wrong choices. Everything is not going to suit one person to another. We all never think alike. That was never God's intention in the first place.

  • Homesteader79 Sep 30, 12:22 p.m.

    I just checked, and what do you know? There is NOTHING in the Constitution regarding abortion. If anything, the law IS Constitutional as it protects the health and welfare of an American citizen (including a fetus) which IS in the Constitution. Melissa Reed should read the Constitution at least ONCE in her lifetime before making such statements.

  • Scaramouche Sep 30, 12:20 p.m.

    "If PP is so interested in the health of women, let them stop doing and recommending abortions and concentrate on health issues."

    They don't have to.

    "Pregnancy is not a health issue."

    Yes it is. tell that to the women who die during birth. Have severe hormonal issue during pregnancy...long list of potential negative health affect...

    "Most women will not suffer any permanent or long term health issues by carrying a baby to term."

    SO what?

    "However, the aborted boys and girls (future women) certainly do suffer health issues when killed."

    No boys or girls are being killed. Stop lying to people, weiser_now.

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