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Senate passes abortion waiting period bill

Posted June 15, 2011 10:34 p.m. EDT
Updated June 15, 2011 11:05 p.m. EDT

— Legislators have passed a bill that would require women to get specialized counseling and wait 24 hours before having an abortion.

The state Senate voted 29-20 Thursday night to prohibit an abortion unless a woman is provided with state-specified information about the physician at least 24 hours in advance. The House approved the bill last week. 

The bill now goes to Gov. Bev Perdue. 

Called the “Women’s Right to Know” act, the measure requires a woman to get an ultrasound with images and a fetal heartbeat and then wait 24 hours before terminating a pregnancy.

The doctor would also be required to counsel the woman about alternatives to abortion. There are no exceptions for cases of rape or incest.

Supporters say it will make sure women seeking abortions have all the information they need.  Opponents say it will restrict access to a legal procedure and will disproportionately affect poor and minority women.

North Carolina is one of 16 states that don't require specialized counseling before an abortion. Half the states require a waiting period after counseling.