More than a thousand abortion opponents flock to Raleigh
By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League
January 21, 2014
The two days leading up to Sanctity of Life Sunday on Jan. 19 brought both good news and bad to the pro-life movement in the Tar Heel state.
Late on Friday, a judge ruled that the ultrasound provision of the Woman’s Right to Know law passed in 2011, which would require a medical provider to describe the baby’s image as it appears on the monitor, violates constitutional free-speech rights.
“Sadly and ironically, the baby being viewed via an ultrasound has no speech. He cannot speak for himself, so it’s hard to see how allowing a medical professional to describe him is a violation of free speech,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. “Moreover, when did it become a free speech issue to require a healthcare provider to tell a patient the truth? The state needs to appeal this ruling.”
U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles, who had issued an injunction against that specific portion of the law before it was ever implemented, wrote in her decision that, “The state has not established that the speech-and-display provision directly advances a substantial state interest in regulating health care, especially when the state does not require the patient to receive the message and the patient takes steps to avoid receipt of the message.”
She further called the information, an “ideological message in favor of carrying a pregnancy to term” and said states cannot make a healthcare provider deliver their message.
But Rep. Paul Stam (R-Wake) pointed out that nothing in the law would require a doctor to “say anything that is not truthful or that is misleading.”
While the American Civil Liberties Union, which had joined Planned Parenthood and the Center for Reproductive Rights in the lawsuit, had claimed the Woman’s Right to Know Law would interfere with the doctor-patient relationship, supporters of the law, which passed via a bipartisan override of then-Gov. Bev Perdue’s veto, wanted to make sure women were fully informed before making a decision regarding abortion.
“No woman would be forced to look at a monitor during the ultrasound. The law would simply ensure that the mother is offered that opportunity,” Dr. Creech said. “What we know from reports from pregnancy care centers is that many women, when they see that the life inside them is already a baby and not a ‘lump of tissue,’ they choose life.”
Meanwhile, the good news associated with Sanctity of Life weekend came Saturday in the form of more than a thousand abortion opponents flocking to Raleigh for a prayer breakfast, rally, march and a Catholic mass.
Barbara Holt, president of N.C. Right to Life, put the focus on the omnibus abortion bill passed in 2013 that will raise the safety standards for abortion clinics, offer conscience protection to more health care workers, prohibit gender selection abortions and prevent taxpayers from being forced to fund insurance coverage for abortions for city and county employees. She called the new law “amazing in what it does.”
Also at the rally, Rep. Stam urged attendees to become part of the rule making process as the Department of Health and Human Services develops abortion clinic regulations.
“This is certainly something the Christian Action League will continue to monitor as we’ve already seen that the panel of ‘stakeholders’ being asked for input about the new rules seems weighted toward abortion proponents,” said Dr. Creech. “We will spread the news when the time comes for public input, so that folks can push for these clinics to be held accountable for how they treat women.”