By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League
GREENSBORO — As of Thursday, women seeking abortion in North Carolina should be getting a clearer picture of the procedure’s risk factors as well as what other options might be available at least 24 hours prior to a scheduled abortion. Unfortunately, at least for now, that picture won’t include guaranteed access to ultrasound images.
Judge Catherine Eagles of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District Court of North Carolina issued a ruling Tuesday enjoining the “Right to View” provision of the law which would have ensured that a pregnant woman would have a chance to view a live image of her womb, to see for herself her baby’s developmental status.
“This is a major blow to the Women’s Right to Know law, and a ruling that we hope is reversed when the Court takes up the case in December,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. “We don’t understand why this is controversial to begin with since no woman would be forced to look at a monitor. The law would simply ensure that the mother is offered the opportunity to view it if she so chooses.”
Barbara Holt, president of North Carolina Right to Life, said it is “extremely regrettable that mothers will be unable to see real-time images of the unborn children kicking and moving inside the womb and hear their children’s heartbeat.”
Holt said she is confident that the Court will ultimately allow the ultrasound provision and told One News Now that N.C. RTL believes “the information that’s required by this portion of the law is so critical to a mother’s decision to have an abortion that once it gets to a higher court … the criticalness of this piece of information for the mother will be a deciding factor.” Her organization had made the law’s passage their top legislative priority this year, anticipating it would save more than 3,000 lives annually.
House Majority Leader Paul Stam (R-Wake) pointed out that North Carolina law already requires doctors to perform an ultrasound on a woman scheduled for an abortion, an ultrasound that she is typically billed for. The portion of the Woman’s Right to Know Act halted by Judge Eagles would have simply allowed her an opportunity to see it.
“It is unfortunate that the abortion industry, embodied by the Plaintiffs in this case, is so opposed to a woman meeting her child before deciding to terminate her pregnancy,” Stam wrote in a press release.
Even so, he said the ruling was a partial victory in that it will result in women obtaining important information before an abortion.
Enacted by a bi-partisan override of Governor Beverly Perdue’s July veto, the new law requires that women be informed of basic information about the gestational age of the baby, the risks of pregnancy and abortion and whether or not the doctor has malpractice insurance or privileges at the local hospital. It will also give women 24 hours to process the information before the scheduled abortion.
Prior to the law’s passage, abortion clinics were not required to have meaningful patient consultations with doctors prior to the procedure. In fact, many women would meet their abortionist for the first time while they were on the abortion table.
Vigorously opposed by Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, the new Women’s Right to Know Law is similar to those in nearly half the U.S. states. Many areas that grant mothers the right to view their ultrasounds have seen abortion rates drop by nearly a third. In fact, earlier this month Arizona reported a 30 percent decrease in abortion following the passage of an informed consent law there.
“We pray that we’ll be seeing the same kind of decline in North Carolina after this lawsuit is settled,” said Dr. Creech. “Meanwhile our hope is that the printed information that women receive as a result of the new law will help them make an informed choice. We believe knowing all the facts will lead to more decisions for life.”