Perdue vetoes abortion restrictions

Posted June 27, 2011 5:00 p.m. EDT
Updated June 27, 2011 5:58 p.m. EDT

Gov. Bev Perdue has vetoed H854, a bill that would have required a 24-hour waiting period, an ultrasound, and state-scripted medical counseling before abortions.

The “Women’s Right to Know” Act was hailed by supporters as a way to make sure women are fully informed about their options before they undergo an abortion. North Carolina already has an informed consent law for all medical procedures, including abortion. But several women testified at legislative hearings that they were not given needed information before terminating their pregnancies.

Anti-abortion lawmakers and advocates said the measure will reduce the number of terminated pregnancies in North Carolina, saving lives.

The measure made no exceptions for abortions sought due to rape, incest, or medical necessity. Critics of the bill said it would be “inhumane” to put those women through waiting, counseling, and an ultrasound.

Democratic lawmakers called the measure insulting to women, noting that lawmakers have not sought to write counseling materials for other medical procedures. Opponents also criticized the bill as government intrusion into the doctor/patient relationship.  

That was the reason Perdue cited for her veto late this afternoon, according to her written statement:

“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. Physicians must be free to advise and treat their patients based on their medical knowledge and expertise and not have their advice overridden by elected officials seeking to impose their own ideological agenda on others.”

About half the states in the US require a waiting period before abortion. About two-thirds require some type of counseling before the procedure.