@NCCapitol

Perdue vetoes abortion waiting period bill

Posted June 27, 2011 4:02 a.m. EDT
Updated June 27, 2011 6:14 p.m. EDT

— Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue on Monday vetoed Republican-penned legislation that would place medical and time hurdles in front of women considering abortions.

House Bill 854 would prohibit an abortion unless a woman is provided with state-specified information about the physician at least 24 hours in advance.

Women also would get information about the likely stage of development of the fetus, the medical risks of having an abortion and giving birth, and the availability of abortion alternatives. The woman would have to speak with a physician or nurse in person or by telephone to receive the information.

"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. "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.”

Anti-abortion activists said the measure would ensure women make a fully knowledgeable decision before a weighty act while saving lives in unborn children. North Carolina is one of 16 states that do not require specialized counseling before an abortion. Half of the states require a waiting period after counseling.

"We are now in a minority of states that require no special informed consent for abortion, and that is shameful, especially with a female governor," Rep. Ruth Samuelson, R-Mecklenburg, said in a statement. "Having come this far in leadership, Gov. Perdue should have even greater respect for the ability of women to make careful choices when given adequate information. Yet, she made no attempt to work with us in this effort to make abortion safer and rarer, a goal even many abortion advocates support."

Planned Parenthood and abortion-rights groups urged Perdue to block the measure, saying it was needless government intrusion into the professional relationship between a doctor and a woman who was already making an informed decision.

"It’s clear that Gov. Perdue, unlike North Carolina’s current House and Senate leadership, trusts women to make personal, private health decisions without government interference," Alison Kiser, field manager for Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina, said in a statement. "She understands that women think very seriously about their options when faced with an unintended pregnancy. They consult their families and trusted medical professionals and make a decision based on their own personal circumstances, needs and beliefs."

Based on the House and Senate votes when the legislature passed the abortion restrictions, bill supporters would have to find at least one vote more in each chamber to override any veto. The General Assembly's reconvened session in mid-July is expected to consider such votes.

Perdue already has vetoed three other measures in the past nine days.

Earlier this year, Perdue let become law without her signature a bill that created separate criminal charges for suspects accused of causing a fetus to die or injuring it inside the womb at any stage of development. The bill made clear it didn't apply to legal abortion.