Senate gives initial OK to longer abortion waiting periods

Posted May 28, 2015
Updated May 29, 2015

— Women seeking abortions would have to wait three times as long and doctors performing the procedure would in some cases have to submit images of the fetus to the Department of Health and Human Services under a bill the state Senate tentatively approved 31-15 Thursday.

Debate on the measure, which is subject to a second Senate vote next week before returning to the state House for consideration, inflamed one of the major fault lines between Democrats and Republicans during a sometimes tense, hour-long debate.

"This bill is another attempt by the legislature to play doctor," said Sen. Terry Van Duyn, D-Buncombe. "I would assert this is not a business we need to get into."

The bill increases the time between the point a woman inquires about an abortion and the time the procedure may happen from 24 hours to 72 hours, a move several Democrats derided as "paternalistic" and "insulting" to women who had already thought about what they're doing.

But Sen. Joyce Krawiec, R-Forsyth, who led the battle on the Senate floor for the bill, said that the waiting period may change the minds of young women who don't know all of their options.

"I have counseled many post-aborted women, and one of the most common things that I hear is, 'I didn’t have time to make a decision. I was rushed,'" Krawiec said.

It is unclear in what capacity Krawiec, who runs a commercial real estate business with her husband and has been active in Republican politics, would have been in a position to counsel women. Calls to her legislative office and home were not immediately returned.

The bill also would allow only board-certified ob/gyns to perform abortions. Van Duyn noted that 38 of North Carolina's 100 counties don't have a physician who meets that standard.

"The purpose of this (legislation) is to make abortion less available. That makes it less safe. That endangers women's health, and it is totally medically unnecessary," she said.

When House Bill 465 left the House, it dealt solely with abortion matters. The bill that arrived on the floor Thursday was mingled with a number of bipartisan measures aimed at protecting women and children, including curbs on sex offenders and measures aimed at helping battered women.

Sen. Josh Stein, D-Wake, sought to separate the other language in the bill from the abortion measures, saying that Democrats should not have to choose between backing politically popular, common sense measures or sticking to long-held principles with regard to abortion.

"These are distinct issues," Stein said. "We should not be playing politics with women’s health."

However, led by Senate Rules Committee Chairman Tom Apodaca, R-Henderson, the Republican-dominated chamber rebuffed Stein's move to divide the bill into two questions as well as a number of amendments offered by other Democrats.

Two amendments offered by Democrats, including one that would prohibit prisons from shackling pregnant women, were postponed until Monday night.

In addition to extending the abortion waiting period, the bill would require that doctors who perform abortions in which the fetus is older than 16 weeks send an image of the ultrasound to DHHS.

Sen. Floyd McKissick, D-Durham, said that was an attempt to second-guess doctors.

"We're trying to bully and intimidate doctors, to make sure doctors don't want to perform these procedures," McKissick said.

Krawiec insisted the new measure would help ensure that North Carolina's law banning abortion beyond 20 weeks was being followed. She pointed to data showing that, for some 10 percent of abortions performed in 2014, the age of the fetus was not determined.

"Many have told me they had abortions after 20 weeks," she said. "That will stop this from happening."

Apodaca and Sen. Bill Rabon, R-Brunswick, joined all Senate Democrats who were present to vote against the bill.

Senators must vote again to approve the bill before sending it back to the House, where members would have to agree to the changes made in the Senate before the bill could be sent to the governor.


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  • Chase Truman Jun 1, 2015
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    Boom!! Well said!

  • Chase Truman Jun 1, 2015
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    Where on this forum are people saying they don't believe in the death penalty? If you do the research, you will actually see that the majority of BOTH democrats and republicans DO believe in the death penalty when it has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that a person is guilty of a heinous crime.

  • Paul Maxwell Jun 1, 2015
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    Laws like this one are merely useless pandering and solve or prevent nothing. Requiring real, science-based sex education for every student in every middle, high, charter, and private school (no opt-outs for the holier-than-you crowd) would go a long way towards preventing unwanted pregnancies and the resulting abortions.

  • Sam Nada May 29, 2015
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    Is that how you interpret "Thou shalt not kill"? Preventing a zygote/embryo from developing is forbidden, but killing an adult is perfectly fine? That's hard to fathom. The religious fanatics want to prevent sex ed, prevent contraception, force women to bear children against their will, and then prevent health care being provided to the resulting children. And somehow that's being righteous. They have every step in that process completely wrong, and then have the audacity to question the humaneness of the left.

  • Joanne Batjer May 29, 2015
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    most wrong

  • Mike C May 29, 2015
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    It is utterly amazing that people will rush to kill an unborn human being that has had no chance to prove themselves in the world, but will not execute an known killer who has proven himself to be a menace to society.

    Where would all these pro abortionist be if their parents had chosen abortion over birth?

  • Matt Wood May 29, 2015
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    Anyone who thinks a woman hasn't seriously thought about it before getting an abortion is being intentionally obtuse. Also, anyone who was against doctors reporting to the cops when someone with a gun might be dangerous should also be against forcing a doctor to send a picture of a fetus inside a woman to the government.

    "Many have told me they had abortions after 20 weeks," she said. "That will stop this from happening."

    How many is "many?" Anyone who says "many have told me" usually means their sister's best friend's cousin's pastor once overheard a conversation where someone possibly had an abortion...

  • Keith LeBrun May 29, 2015
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    The arguments are getting shriller and more far-fetched. How can Krawlec make the claim that requiring doctors to send an ultrasound to DHHS prevents abortions after 20 weeks if 10% of practicing doctors are truly not paying any attention to the age of a fetus in the first place?

    Is this really a Republican demanding MORE government?

  • Keith LeBrun May 29, 2015
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    "But Sen. Joyce Krawiec, R-Forsyth, who led the battle on the Senate floor for the bill, said that the waiting period may change the minds of young women who don't know all of their options."

    And in that case Senator, why not introduce legislation that requires a full breakdown of all the available options with honesty and respect to women facing a very difficult point in their lives? We already have laws that requires doctors to lie to their patients, and to show a mother a 3D image of a child she's chosen to abort. You've closed facilities in order to use distance as a barrier. And now you've stooped to attaching yet another attack on Roe v Wade to legislation that would actually help other women. In short, you've done everything possible EXCEPT to be open and honest and to show respect.

    If the problem is a lack of good information for a new mother to consider, then stop the games and provide it!

  • Evo Lution May 29, 2015
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    In regards to Senator Krawiek claiming she'd counseled many women who claim they didn't have the time to decide, there are probably two parts to this issue. One, limits to how late an abortion can be performed have shrunk leaving many to feel rushed into their decision. Two, people are not taken from an appointment to have the procedure done against their will. If they want more time, they can take it. Regret occurs with many decisions even if five days were the mandatory wait time. Stop interfering with a woman's right to make medical decisions. Three, the ability to tack bills onto another bill should be outlawed. Bills should be passed on their own merit and not because another attached bill is something that is beneficial.